Your home can age with you, meeting new needs as your abilities change. Your home can be remodeled for improved accessibility, and incorporating even a few of the following modifications makes life easier for everyone.
Welcome everyone with accessibility needs into your home with:
• At least one zero-clearance entry that can be reached from the driveway or sidewalk
• A ramp made of non-slip materials that provide a good grip for wheelchairs and walkers, such as textured concrete (above) or pavers
• A covered, well-lit area in front of the door for shelter from the elements and security while manipulating equipment or keys
• A keyless push-button lockset (above) erases the need for fumbling with keys; a lever door handle is easier to use than a round knob or thumb latch
• Once inside, a table or bench by the door helps those with mobility equipment and serves as an area to place packages and keys.
Doorways a minimum of 32” wide make it possible for those in walkers or wheelchairs to get through. The standard doorway width is 30”, and when a door is swung open, the thickness of the door and its hinges eat up more of that clearance space.
If installing a 32” wide door jamb is not possible, you can gain extra space by replacing existing hinges with swing-away hinges that allow a door to completely swing away from the opening, which gives you more clearance space.
Convert a bath on the main level of the home for accessibility with:
• Plenty of open floor space for navigating wheelchairs or walkers
• Grab bars in the shower/tub area, next to the toilet and near the sink
• A vanity with open-access under the sink with room for a wheelchair or regular chair
• A lever-handle water faucet can be turned on and off with the push of a hand
• A zero-clearance walk-in shower with a bench seat
You can continue to enjoy your kitchen when it’s easier to use. Universal design features include:
• Base cabinets drawers for storing and accessing dishes and your most-used items
• Dishwasher, refrigerator and microwave drawers that are eay to access and operate
• Cabinet pulls that are larger with plenty of room for fingers
• Lower counter heights for those in wheelchairs or who need to sit
• Countertops of a contrasting color from surrounding cabinets and walls makes it easier to differentiate between surfaces
Clearly seeing what’s around you reduces accidents. Improvements include:
• Adding lights at all entries to the home; motion-activated lights double your convenience and safety
• Adding task lighting under cabinets to illuminate countertops and vanities
• Increasing lighting in hallways and high traffic areas
• Placing light switches lower on the wall. Rocker-style switches (above) are easier to navigate than flip-style.
Non-slip flooring is essential, yet it must also be smooth enough for wheelchairs and walkers. Cork is an ideal accessible flooring solution because it is smooth, yet provides grip, and is softer than wood while feeling warm to bare feet. Flooring in a sharply contrasting shade to the walls makes boundaries easier to see.
These accessible modifications will keep you productive and safe while still enjoying the beauty of your home. To make your Metro St. Louis home barrier-free, work with Mosby Building Arts’ staff of certified accessibility designers and builders. Learn more about Mosby’s accessible design services. Call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.