When you are ready to make home modifications, the place you will likely need to start is actually on the outside of your home. Entryways, garages, front steps, porches, and the rest are typically NOT designed for the ADA lifestyle. Here are some gadgets to get you thinking about how to change those cursed steps!
If you’re looking to modify your entry here are a few things to consider:
1. The ADA guideline is for every 1″ of rise, you will need 12″ of length. That is a LOT of length for a straight line, which is why you see a lot of those metal ramps with switchbacks. You go half the distance one way, turn at the bend, then go the rest of the way to the door. You can rent this type of metal ramp, or for DIY instructions on how to build one, click here for a Lowes.com tutorial.
The switchback type of ramp is probably what you think of when you think wheelchair ramp, but it doesn’t have to be. Actually not only are those ramps a less attractive option for your home, they aren’t all that practical. The speaker at our home modification meeting told the story of a woman whose son was in a wheelchair. Every time it snowed she had to shovel the top ramp from her door onto the bottom ramp, then shovel the bottom ramp (now with twice the amount of snow) onto the ground. Talk about back-breaking work, especially if your winters dump snow on you like they do here in Colorado!
The woman in the story actually changed out the temporary switchback system to a vertical lift (like the one in the video below) for her son. A vertical lift is not only a great solution for a raised deck or high stair situation, it would also make a great addition to an indoor garage entry!
Here are some other examples of custom ramps that you can have installed – that blend much better with your landscaping and lend more curb appeal. These ramps were custom-made by Accessible Systems (click here for website), and feature gradual concrete and wooden slopes.
2. If you don’t need a full ramp but just want to have more stability for walking up steps, some custom steel rails will go a long way! Here is an example of a custom railing, also by Accessible Systems. This is a plain version, but you can also get more decorative versions with curved balusters, other finishes, etc.
A few things to consider when you are placing rails: Do you have more strength on your right or left side? Would having railing on both sides be more practical? Do you need any additional bars placed at need the door to brace yourself and get over any threshold lip? If you fatigue with steps do you need seating anywhere near the top or bottom steps to give you a rest?
3. Whatever you decide, think about outside modifications with attention to the future. Your entry needs to work for you and your increasing needs as time goes by. Even if you are not intending on staying in your home the rest of your life, no step entries are a universal design which means it will be beneficial to any buyer. A ramp is great for a wheelchair, but it is also great for everyone else (the elderly, young mothers with strollers, aging pets, furniture movers, Slinky, wait, nevermind, Slinky likes stairs… but you get the idea.)
4. If you have one, check with your HOA for modification guidelines. People tend to think of the ugly for ADA accessible modifications. Good design will help make your plans a reality. If your modifications blend with your landscape and home’s style you and your neighbors will enjoy looking at it day after day. It’s your home, make it yours.
Just got this email notice from TMA: get your questions ready for the next live discussion!
Remember: this live discussion is at NOON (12PM) Mountain time on June 10th.
Here’s a video about foot drop. Some of our members have used braces to counteract their foot drop, and have said they were amazed how much energy they were wasting trying to keep their foot straight beforehand.
If you’re more into a medical explanation:
I’m half-convinced Mo has a mild case of this, although he’d tell you there’s just too much crap on the floor to trip over. No one else seems to trip over the toys, but however….
Our June 1st meeting is just around the corner, and we wanted to see what thoughts are for lunch afterwards.
After our April meeting some of us met for a bite to eat, and it was great to get to know each other better. This time we are thinking about a nearby Italian restaurant, Undici. Click here for their website.
We’ll need to make reservations, so if you’re interested please email us or make a comment here. We know that our guest speaker Andrew White and his girlfriend will be staying for lunch, should be a great time to talk and share!
12 more days to get your essays into the IG Living magazine contest! Click here for our previous post about this.
Your essay must begin with the phrase: My life turned around and improved when…
I just submitted my own essay – about this blog! Below is my submission. I want everyone to know how much it has meant to me to connect with you and what a blessing it is to share our story with everyone. We are honored to be a part of your lives. Love you All!
Be The Change
My life turned around and improved when I opened my heart (and laptop) to the world.
My husband was diagnosed with dermatomyositis in March 2007. When my husband started getting tired, we thought it was from stress and long hours at work. When he started getting strange reddish-purple patches, we thought it was just a rash or eczema. When he started having trouble lifting his arms, getting out of chairs, and climbing stairs, we knew something was much worse.
The week he was admitted to the hospital for muscle biopsy and diagnosis we were overwhelmed with medical terms and information. Tours of medical students were brought through my husband’s hospital room, and we spent a good part of our time spelling the name of his disease (d-e-r-m-a-t-o-m-y-o-s-i-t-i-s) to friends and family. Months of routine weekly doctor visits to rheumatologists, neurologists, gastroenterologists, physical therapists and speech therapists kept the learning curve steep. We read everything we could find on Internet discussion boards, medical journals, and health sites. Sometimes we pointed my husband’s doctors to new research and treatments they didn’t know about yet. We were very informed about his disease, and as my husband started to respond to treatment and medication we thought the hardest part was over. How wrong we were.
Living with a disease that has no cure is not an easy thing to do. Aside from the physical challenges (and those are many) the daily emotional grind of chronic illness wears you down. Years go by and you still ask yourself the same question that you did the first day: “Why?”
There is no word more painful or useless than the word “Why”. It keeps you in the past. It keeps you in anger. It keeps you powerless. The day I started the support blog, Myositis Colorado was the day I stopped asking “Why” and started asking “How”.
We have participated in the myositis community ever since my husband was first diagnosed. We’ve joined the local support group, gone to the medical conferences, kept up with the discussion boards, “Like”d the myositis pages on Facebook, and subscribe to the newsletters and magazines. But we did all those things from the sidelines, never really getting in the game. It wasn’t until September 21st 2012, National Myositis Awareness Day, that I got up the nerve to put our own story out there.
When I started blogging I was scared out of my mind. Would people want to read what I have to write? Who was I (a caregiver) to write about a disease I have only by association? What if I can’t find enough topics to write about? How much time is blogging going to take out of my life? Would it even be worth it?
Here are the answers I’ve found to all those questions: Our blog is about us, but it’s about everyone else too. A blog is a voice of one for the many. I am a caregiver (like many others) who needs to tell my story of the disease that has changed my life. Life IS the topic, and everything in it. The time is well spent, I’m happy to help people in whatever little (or big) ways I can. Yes (yes, a thousand times yes) the blog is worth it! It has changed me. It has changed my world.
Mahatma Gandhi said; “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Today is the day to stop asking “Why”. Get involved. Start a blog. Shout your story from the rooftop. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
Beautiful video about dysphagia. Just beautiful.