General Home Modifications For Independent Living
Let's face it, accessible homes are needed by all of us at some time in our lives. This is true whether it's for ourselves, a family member, or a guest. The need is certainly not driven by age but is a result of life's experience. Any family living with disability among any of the generations within it's group can always benefit from additional accessibility. This will in turn increase safety and independence for all involved as they go through life.
- Widened entrances and doorways
- Defining the accessible route
- Safer bathrooms
- Accessible kitchens
People who are interested in aging in place home improvements are now looking for a level entry into their home along with the maneuverability that a more open floor plan having greater clear unobstructed floor space presents. They desire flat floors without transitions requiring steps or stairs to move around. Ramps having a correct 1:12 slope can be used to get them up to the level floor space at the exterior entries or the garage access.
- Doors should have a minimum 32" clear opening
- All doors should have graspable lever hardware
- Thresholds should be no higher than 1/2"
Consumers are looking for the free maneuverability that more open floorplans offer with greater clear unobstructed floor space. Wider doorways and unobstructed accessible routes are truly a concern. Home modifications should provide flat floors without transitions requiring steps or stairs to move around.
- A home must be barrier free to accommodate mobility aids like canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Every room should include a five foot turning radius for ease of maneuverability
- Secure railings should be available for all staircases and transition areas such as hallways
- Decreasing clutter for unimpeded routes from room to room and within rooms
Bathroom vanities with universal height cabinet tops and open knee spaces are taking over the marketplace. These new residential vanities do not need to look institutional. They can be designed like any other piece of fine furniture. Comfort height toilets covered with any one of a multitude of available seats to fit every need prevent deep knee bends required for seating. Curbless roll in showers are advised for everyone on a universal level. The shower should contain at least a shower wand on a sliding bar to be available for varying heights of use alongwith a regular height shower head with diverter control if desired. Folding seats are useful if caretakers are involved and secure grab bars around the shower perimeter will increase the safety factor and prevent falls. All of the bathroom floor surface must be nonskid to prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor.
- Enhanced lighting both natural and electrically powered
- Stable grab bars at the correct locations
- Reachable storage
- Lever controls
Evolving kitchens have sprung up due to the more open floorplans needed today. Fewer wall cabinets, open shelves, lowered cabinet tops, pullout shelves or specialized drawers, and a reduced number of mobility obstructing doors represent the evolution of todays cabinetry. Kneespaces can be incorporated into a kitchen design for roll under access to the sink, prep area, and cooktop. Higher toe kicks can facilitate greater wheelchair access.
- ADA compliant kitchen cabinets
- Accessible working environments
- Enhanced maneuvering space