By Adam Fine
Adam Fine is the founder and president of Accessible Design & Consulting, Inc. specializing in residential & commercial accessibility assessment, ADA consulting, and Accessible project management.
Adam Fine, President
Many times a lot of us are faced with both physical and/or safety challenges in our home. We think nothing of paying insurance premiums for our car, home or even healthcare. However, we need to go a step further to insure the safety of our health within the walls of our own homes. The following challenges are typically where most safety and challenge areas are most likely to occur in the home.
Challenge #1: Difficulty getting up from a seated position from a chair or sofa
Solution: Furniture risers can lift the legs of a couch up 3-4 inches (typically we will put 4” risers on the back legs of a sofa and 3” risers on the front legs of a sofa).
Solution: Reclining lift chairs can move a person from a reclining position to a standing position with the touch of a button.
Solution: An electric seat assist is best used on a sofa or seat with a softer cushion.
Challenge #2: Getting in/out of bed
Solution: A bedrail/bedcane slides easily between the mattress and box spring of most beds. A bed pull-up strap will also enable someone pull up (or turn to the side) of a bed from a prone position.
Challenge #3: Stepping safely into the shower becomes too dangerous
Solution: Raising the shower pan (from the inside of the shower) with hard plastic porous tiles and entry ramp can solve this challenge (“Lego Tiles”).
Solution: Grab bars – placing two grab bars one horizontally and one vertically in the shower can provide good leverage and prevent a slip or fall.
Solution: Non-Slip Strips
Challenge #4: Getting into/out of a bathtub
Solution: If you love to take baths, an electric bath is a very safe and very effective to get you safely into and out of a bathtub.
Challenge #5: Toilet is too low and there is difficulty in getting up and/or off, or difficulty transferring from a wheelchair
Solution: A toilet spacer installed underneath the base of the toilet can elevate the entire toilet a full 3 1/2 inches (fits the majority of toilets).
Solution: A grab bar (usually installed on a 45 degree angle) on one side of the toilet (typically installed on the wall where the arm strength is stronger i.e., right side).
Challenge #6: Walking up or down stairs is difficult or dangerous
Solution: A straight or curved stairlift or an elevator. There are some elevators that do not require a shaft.
Challenge #7: Walkway to home has steps making it difficult to enter with a wheelchair or walker
Solution: A portable suitcase ramp or a roll-up ramp ranging from 2 to 10 feet in length can be a possible solution. Other custom ramps with handrails can also be permanently installed in wood, concrete or aluminum (prices vary depending on the height of the porch or landing).
Challenge #8: Doorways are too narrow to enter with either a walker or a wheelchair
Solution: Swing-away hinges (both residential and commercial sizes are available) are both inexpensive and easy to install on any door. You can widen the doorway up to two full inches to allow walkers or wheelchairs to move safely through without scraping walls or knuckles!
Challenge #9: Difficulty getting into, or out of an automobile
Solution: An automobile standing support lever that fits into the locking mechanism of most cars and acts as a lever to push down on when getting into, or out of an automobile.
Challenge #10: Wanting portability in an electric scooter
Solution: Portable scooters are easy to handle and can give you the freedom to have more independence in your life. Great for indoor or outdoor use and they will give you approximately 10 miles to a single charge.