Your ability to age in place while enjoying full use of your home may be a challenge if you have stairs. In fact, in many homes, the only place to shower is on the second floor. If you’re in a cast, a wheelchair, or simply no longer comfortable on the stairs, you may need to move quickly to be able to reach your bathroom and bed. Consider making changes to your home now so you won’t be in a rush or have to make hard decisions.
Convert Front Steps Into a Wheelchair Ramp
Removing the front steps on your home and building a wheelchair ramp can make your home accessible no matter the injuries or health concerns you may face. When designing your wheelchair ramp be sure to work with a licensed contractor to stay within code and to make sure your ramp will stand the test of time. In addition, consider how the person most in need of the ramp leaves or enters the house. Does the move from the house to the garage to get into their vehicle in climate control, or are they picked up on the driveway? You may need to invest in a driveway update, so the wheelchair user has a friendly surface when they leave the ramp.
Install a Stair Lift or Elevator
When you or a loved one are no longer safe climbing stairs, it may be time to install a stair lift. These tools hug close to the wall and may require you to take out the handrail. The person in need of transport simply belts themselves in, rides up the stair lift and is able to swivel and stand on the second floor. Stairs are a common cause of trip and fall injuries, especially for senior adults. Because such a stumble can be catastrophic to their ability to stay in their homes, investing in a stair lift can be a great investment. Elevators are also an option, but the renovation to install an elevator is quite invasive and expensive; stair lifts are the more affordable option.
Doorways and Bathrooms
If you’re ready to install a stair lift, it’s probably time to think about widening doorways and renovating bathrooms. While both of these repairs can be costly, messy and invasive, creating beautiful and accessible bathrooms is a repair that can greatly benefit your disabled friends and family. If you’re thinking about a renovation, consider adding a no-lip shower so a shower chair can be rolled in later.
You may be thinking about downsizing into a house where everything is on one level. However, if you love your home and your neighborhood, it is possible to make changes to your existing home that will make aging in place a better option.
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