There’s no place like home, as the saying goes, but early on in my disability journey I dreaded returning home after a long trip — my residence simply wasn’t as accessible as a wheelchair accessible hotel room. Unless we start building from scratch, it’s hard to achieve full accessibility in homes that weren’t designed with wheelchair users and people with disabilities in mind. But, there are some products that can make life easier and our homes or apartments more accessible — take a look at these 7 products that will make your home more disability-friendly.

Earth Throne, the Travel-Ready Toilet Riser

Replacing a standard toilet with a larger one is expensive, making a high-quality toilet seat riser a smart investment for many people with disabilities. The Earth Throne is a highly-rated solution that was created to solve a problem for 90-year-old Dale, as described in this video:

Made from EVA closed cell foam, the Earth Throne is both comfortable and stable. According to the designers, “Clients may sit and the closed cell foam compresses, sealing to most toilets. When standing, the foam releases and Earth Throne is easy to remove, making it portable and easy to clean.”

The Earth Throne is available from Amazon and

Drive Medical Height-Adjustable Shower Chair

When I moved into my new apartment last year, I needed a shower chair to place inside of the walk-in shower — something that would be easy enough to assemble and sturdy enough to transfer onto. I searched Amazon and settled on the Drive Medical Handicap Bathroom Bench with Back and Arms.

Shower chair inside a walk-in shower.

The seat is 21.75 inches wide, and has an adjustable height of 16 inches to 20.5 inches. It is capable of supporting people of up to 350 pounds, and required no tools to assemble. I’m a big fan of this product and, after using it for a year, it has certainly been worth the price I paid, which was less than $50!

Norte that, since I live in an apartment building, I chose not to install a permanent shower seat. If you own your home and would prefer to invest in a permanent solution, the Shower Seat with Folding Legs from Grab Bar Specialists is the model I would choose.

Alexa-Enabled Products that Support Voice and Mobile App Control

Have you ever transferred into bed, only to realize that you left the TV on, or the kitchen light? Did you forget to adjust the thermostat? It’s such a pain when that happens or, at least, it used to be.

Now, my apartment is Alexa-enabled, meaning I can control any number of lights and appliance with a touch of the button on the Alexa app, or with a voice command. Here are a few products that will get you started in making your home smarter:

  • Amazon Alexa Echo Dot — I have an Echo Dot device placed in three different places throughout my apartment: the living room/kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. The Echo Dot is the device that listens for my voice commands, answers questions, reads my notifications, and plays music when I ask it to.
  • Govee Smart Light Bulbs — These Alexa-Enabled Light Bulbs will allow you to turn your lights on and off with a voice command, while adjusting the color and brightness of light. All you have to do is screw the bulb in!
  • eufy RoboVac — “Hey Alexa, Clean the floor!” This command activates my RoboVac, which traces its way through my apartment picking up the dirt that is tracked in by my wheelchair. It’s a fantastic tool, and regular cleanings allow me to space out the deeper cleanings that require some physical effort.
  • Amazon Fire TV — Amazon’s lineup of Optima Fire TVs support handsfree voice control through Alexa, making it easy to open apps and play content. Better yet, you can get a huge 55-inch screen for under $500.
  • Toshiba Microwave or Air Fryer — Pop popcorn, reheat food and more with an Alexa-enabled microwave or air fryer from Toshiba. Saying “pop popcorn” or “reheat for 5 minutes is so much easier than pressing buttons!
  • Amazon Smart Thermostat — With this Alexa-enabled thermostat from Amazon, you’ll never have to touch the thermostat again — simply tell Alexa what to do, and she’ll set the temperature according to your commands.
  • Kasa Smartplugs for Older Devices — I keep a small fan next to my bed for airflow, but it isn’t Alexa enabled. By using a Kasa Smart Plug, I’m able to add Alexa control to the fan that isn’t very smart, but which I love. Smart plugs allow you to increase the functionality and extend the life of devices that you already, keeping those older devices out of landfills.

There are countless other Alexa-enabled smart products for the home, but these are just a few. Making my home “smart” has made life so much easier — when I hope into bed and say, “Alexa, Goodnight,” my lights and TV are powered off, the thermostat adjusts to a cooler temperature, my bedside fan comes to life, and my Echo Dot begins playing some soothing sounds that help me wander off to sleep.

Portable Wheelchair Ramp

Not all homes have level-entry doorways, and a portable ramp can bring wheelchair accessibility to places that it has not existed previously.

I wrote an entire article on the Top 6 Portable Wheelchair Ramps for Accessible Travel, but here are a couple of my favorite products:

  • Ruedamann Wheelchair Ramps — Available in various lengths (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 feet), these ramps are a fantastic high-quality option for providing wheelchair access. Each ramp folds in half, has a carry handle, and features non-slip rubber pads to improve traction in all conditions.
  • DecPac Wheelchair Ramps — Used by public transit agencies, railways and other transportation companies around the world to provide access, these ramps are popular due to their small size and portability — folding like an accordion and outfitted with a carrying handle, they’re a sturdy lightweight solution made of fiberglass.

Electronic Door Opener with Push Button & Wi-Fi Control

Electronic door opener.

There is no need to struggle opening the doors throughout your home, as the Low Energy ADA Swing Door Operator by Olideauto brings the push-button control found in businesses and universities into your residence.

The Olide-120B is an automatic door opener kit for both inswinging and outswinging doors, that comes with two wireless & wired stainless handicap push to exit buttons for automatic doors. This automatic door operator system is designed to secure your door and have the capabilities of automatically and manually opening and closing it as well. A simple yet secure system for homes and commercial areas such as offices, hospitals, businesses and more.

Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices, the electronic door opener can be remote controlled by an app on your mobile phone from anywhere, or by telling your smart home control system to “open sesame,” “open the door,” or whatever phrase you set it to respond to.

The ability to control doors with a touch of a button or a voice command supports increased independence, and should be available to every person with a disability!

Safety Spring Door Closer

Opening doors is challenging enough for wheelchair users, but pulling them closed behind you is even more challenging. My wheelchair always seems to get in the way, and I can never seem to move fast enough.

Spring door closer.

The HoneSecur Safety Spring Door Closer will guarantee that the door closes behind you. At less than $20, this incredibly affordable tool is easy to install and will eliminate the physical struggle often required to close a door.

Invacare Hydraulic Patient Lift

Shortly after my car accident, I was bedridden — too injured and weak to assist with transfers. Doctors recommended a Hoyer lift, at least temporarily, but my health insurance wouldn’t cover the cost and they were priced in the thousands of dollars.

We made do without and, as I regained my strength and independence, I was glad we hadn’t spent the money on an expensive transfer hoist. But many people do require a transfer lift for longer-term use and this Lightweight Hydraulic Patient Lift from Invacare may be a workable solution at a much more affordable price. Priced at about $550, this lift has a six-point spreader bar that swivels 360-degrees and has a lifting range of 20 to 64 inches. It’s rated to lift up to 450 pounds, and its four wheels make the lift maneuverable in tight spaces.

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