Wheelchair Ramp “Hide and Seek”

A temporary, metal ramp works well for both short and long term access needs. This ramp can be easily reconfigured for use at a different residence.

What does a ramp at the front of your house tell everyone about you…is it identifying you as an easy “target” for a crime? When the need for a ramp arises, instead of placing a ramp at the front entrance door to the house, there are two alternate locations for a more concealed ramp placement.

If there is an attached garage, a ramp can be installed in the garage with direct access into the house. This option provides protection from the effects of rain, snow and ice. Placing the ramp in the garage is preferred by most individuals and, since it is protected from the weather elements, can also extend the longevity of the ramp and eliminate the need for regular maintenance to protect the wood.

The challenging part of a garage ramp design is that in order to achieve a safe slope (general guideline is that for every 1” in rise, there should be 12” of ramped surface, plus 5’x5’ minimum level landings at the top, bottom and each direction change), the length/size of the ramp can take up one entire parking stall, if not more It is important to determine if eliminating a parking stall is an option, or if it will be necessary to add an additional parking stall onto the garage.

If the garage is the preferred location for access into the home, and it is not possible to eliminate a parking stall, a vertical platform lift and landing may be an option as it may take up less square footage.

If there isn’t an attached garage, or it is not possible to provide access through the garage, a second location for ramp placement is on the back side of the house, entering the home through an existing patio/back door, or door not seen from the road. If an existing door is not provided, a new door can be easily added…possibly in a location where a window currently exists…or the ramp could tie into an emergency egress route (e.g.: from the accessible bedroom). By placing the ramp at the back of the home, the ramp is hidden from the street.

When constructing a ramp at the back of a home, keep in mind it will be necessary to provide a connecting sidewalk between the vehicle drop-off area and the ramp. This can also be an opportunity to create an exterior patio or deck in addition to the ramp, thereby providing “useable outdoor” space for the individual using the wheelchair.

Be aware of water drainage issues from the roof so the new sidewalk and ramp are not a “pooling” site for water drainage creating a slippery situation. Water can be routed under the sidewalk by providing a “sleeve” for the down spout or through a grate placed in the walkway creating a “trough drain”.

Additional lighting may be necessary along the sidewalk and ramp, and at the door landing area. Motion sensor lights are a convenient option.

As a last resort, if the only place to construct a ramp is at the front entrance, there are ways to “disguise” it and visually connect it or blend the ramp in to the home by using similar architectural elements and appropriate landscaping. By doing so, you can make the ramp “disappear” and in some cases actually add “curb appeal”.


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The Life Care Plan: Projecting Future Needs after Catastrophic Illness or Injury


Contributed by:
Angela Heitzman, MA, CRC, CLCP, MSCC
Heitzman Rehabilitation, LLC

Jodi was a high school teacher in rural Minnesota at the time of her motor vehicle collision in 2009. While driving down the highway Jodi’s car was broadsided on the passenger side by a semi truck as it crossed the highway. Jodi had to be extricated from her vehicle and air-lifted to the nearest trauma center where work began to save her crushed right ankle and foot. After several unsuccessful surgeries, the decision was made to amputate her leg. Because Jodi lived alone in an old, inaccessible farm house, it was necessary for her to move in temporarily with her sister and her family. The loss of her leg and the dependence that it engendered was a challenge for this independent woman.

When Jodi’s attorney referred her to Heitzman Rehabilitation for development of a Life Care Plan it became clear that one of the more important aspects of the plan would be to return Jodi to a home of her own, where she could live independently. The services of Accessibility Design were retained to develop options for either purchasing and remodeling an existing home or building a new home that would accommodate a wheelchair.

Appropriate housing is one piece of a life care plan. A life care plan addresses all aspects of care, including therapies, routine medical care, labs, radiology, surgeries, equipment, supplies, medications, mobility needs, transportation, supportive care, housing, health maintenance and educational and vocational services. In Jodi’s case, future needs include items such as prostheses, walking aids, manual wheelchair, physical therapy, and disability adjustment counseling. The plan is meant to be a living document, flexible enough to change with the individual’s current condition/status, and grounded in sound medical practice.

  • To identify future care needs and provide a blueprint for those needs
  • To determine anticipated life-long costs for assistance in settling a claim
  • To educate the injured or ill person regarding steps necessary to maintain health and avoid complications
  • To use cost information in setting claim reserves or guiding implementation of Special Needs Trust

In the development of a life care plan the planner will review medical records; interview the individual and her/his family and caregivers; contact treating health care providers or retained medical experts to verify needs; identify items/services the person will likely need; research costs of services, equipment, procedures, medications, and supplies, along with frequency, duration and replacement rates; conduct medical research including review of clinical practice guidelines, standards of care, and best practices; and develop an individualized plan that will help minimize health complications. Each life care plan is tailored to a specific individual. Life care plans are meant to be objective; the plan should provide for the care necessary to allow the person to return to a productive, safe, and complication-free life.


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Accessible Cabin Design for a Flexible Future

Entrance is covered for protection from weather elements. Doorway is wheelchair accessible with zero-step entrance.

After you retire, have you every thought about selling your home in the city and moving to the “peace and solitude” of your weekend retreat? If so, you may be planning on remodeling or updating your property to provide the “comforts of home” and create a gathering place for all generations of your family to foster fond memories.

In doing so, this is a great opportunity to incorporate basic design concepts and “fine tuning” to address any future mobility or aging issue of yours or your guests.

Start by designating one entrance as a primary, future, accessible entrance. If you have a stoop or deck, construct the level landing at the door so it is the same height as the threshold. The size of this platform should be a minimum 5 feet by 5 feet … that would allow future installation of a ramp off of it if needed. Remember to provide the same minimum 5 feet by 5 feet of clearance on the interior side of the door as well … so as to have ample floor space on both sides of the door to enter and exit your home comfortably. A “covered” entry is preferred so the entrance is protected from rain … and snow, if you are in a colder climate.

Eliminate the need to rely on steps when planning the interior. Having one bedroom and bathroom on the same level as the kitchen and living area is ideal. These rooms should be located on the same level as the accessible entrance. You may also want to consider incorporating the beginnings of an accessible “egress route” disguised as a deck off the bedroom in which a ramp can be easily attached onto it in the future.

Doors that are relocated or replaced should be widened to allow installation of a 36 inch door … or consider installation of French doors, which can create a wider opening when both doors are open.

Before installing drywall or wall tile in bathrooms, reinforce all walls surrounding the toilet, bathtub and/or shower to provide a proper surface for future installation of grab bars. The preferred method would be to install marine grade plywood over the wall studs extending the full height and width of walls surrounding these fixtures. This will allow great flexibility down the road if grab bars are needed.

If you are considering replacing the toilet, install a toilet with a taller seat surface. All of the major plumbing manufactures offer a residential model that provides a higher toilet seat … but it still looks like a standard residential toilet.

When reconfiguring bathroom and kitchen areas, provide a minimum 30”x48” clear floor space centered in front of toilets, sinks, tub/shower, and appliances. Often times, when creating an accessible bathroom or kitchen, open knee space below counters is desired for seated use at a vanity, sink, cook-top and work area. If you would rather wait on this access feature…at least install the floor material under cabinets so you don’t have to replace the flooring later when modifying cabinetry. Installing a sink and countertop over a base cabinet…which could be removed at a later date … is also another option. Providing a large mirror that extends to the backsplash can be done now with little additional expense allowing use when standing or sitting.

Avoid luxury sized whirlpool tubs as they are more difficult to get in and out of. A standard bathtub is easier to get in and out of, and if needed, can accommodate a bench seat and hand-held shower sprayer at such time getting into the tub is difficult and reach ranges are limited. Installation of a shower unit without a “curb” is the most flexible solution unless major remodeling is to take place, but we suggest installing them into a bathroom with tile floor instead of vinyl flooring. Avoid shower units with doors as they are typically too narrow to get into easily if you have any mobility restrictions. Instead use a weighted shower curtain at the entrance and install the curtain rod a few inches inside the shower to ensure that the curtain drips inside the shower.

If ordering new kitchen cabinets, incorporate pull out shelves in base cabinets…and attempt to incorporate a pantry. Pull out cutting boards are useful as they can provide an accessible work surface in the event you need to sit while preparing a meal or, provide open knee space below one section of counter. Select “D” shaped cabinet pulls for cabinet doors and drawers as they are easier to use in the event you loose some of your grasping ability, e.g. arthritis.

Any new faucet or door hardware should allow lever operation as they are easier to operate, especially if you have limited strength or dexterity.

Firm floor surfaces such as laminate, low pile carpet, tile and hardwood are easier to maneuver over …and are more durable. The transition from one floor surface to another should be neutral with no abrupt rise. This will eliminate potential tripping issues.

These tips should give you a starting point in assessing your remodeling options. During this planning stage, visit a variety of manufacturer showrooms to see the assortment of options open to you that will make your cabin “home sweet home”.


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Stoney River Wet Rooms

Contributed by: Accessibility Resource Center, Inc. (ARC)

For nearly thirty years, wet room systems have been widely accepted as standard installation practice in Europe, and the Accessibility Resource Center, Inc. (ARC) is now bringing the concept to the US.Wet Room System

The most obvious improvement compared to conventional bathroom construction is the barrier-free shower. Having a shower floor level with the surrounding floor, and the absence of any water containment dams or step-over barriers, promotes safety and allows total accessibility regardless of physical ability, handicap, or assist equipment. The shower base’s consistent, shallow pitch planes are well suited for wheel chair or shower chair use, and when outfitted with the recommended 2” or smaller tile, the floor provides exceptional ‘gripping’ qualities, improving balance and stability.

“ARC, Inc. bathing innovations give you control by eliminating obstacles that make everyday activities difficult. And their timeless solutions improve the lives of young and old at every level of ability, without compromising luxury or beauty.”

Enclosing the shower with an expansive, easy-to-operate curtain hung from a bendable rod provides generous room for any showering need, including caregiver situations and turning space for a wheelchair. And because the curtain is made of breathable material, it offers safety in the event that anyone becomes entangled in it.

The design of each bathroom maximizes available space and allows movement throughout the room. With the curtain pulled back the shower area is ready for any purpose or need—accessing the toilet, dressing, maneuvering in a wheelchair, grooming . . . . This “free space” approach to bathroom design puts functionality and flexibility at the forefront, making every square foot do double or triple duty.

Wet room systems include installation of a waterproof membrane beneath shower wall and floor tile, preventing water from seeping into wall sheathing and sub-floor materials, eliminating any chance that material degradation, mold, or mildew will occur. Even concrete, which acts like a sponge, absorbs water that seeps through grout lines or at floor to wall joints, becoming a host for mold and mildew. Wet room technology overcomes this common problem, containing water from any source—shower spray, dripping after bathing, an overflowing toilet or sink—where it evaporates or can be pushed easily to the drain.

By taking advantage of wet room technology, ARC offers leading edge safety, comfort, and ease-of-use benefits in every barrier-free shower.

“The Stoney River Wet Room system allowed us to renovate our small, cramped bathroom in to an accessible bathroom without having to take away any additional living space within our home. Now we have a bathroom that is safe for our son to use and easier for caregivers to assist him each day.”

  • Shower formers are designed for installation directly onto 16” o.c. joist systems
  • Formers are suitable for installation on wood sub-floors or on concrete
  • Off-center drain holes allow repositioning formers to avoid conflicts with joists or other obstructions
  • The perimeter of each former has a 2” wide flat rim that makes leveling easy
  • Securing a former is easy with readily available sub-floor adhesive or thin set mortar, depending on installation circumstances
  • Exceptionally strong and rigid, these shower formers have a 4,000 lb. point load capacity rating– ideal for shower seat legs, mosaic tile, pebble and river rock, wheelchairs, bariatric accommodations, etc.
  • Shower formers are available in three square sizes and six rectangular sizes
  • Shower formers are pre-pitched for consistent drainage and tile installation (unlike custom concrete profiling, which is time-consuming, expensive, and usually delivers inconsistent pitch gradients)
  • Installing a shower former on joists requires no costly and problematic joist reinforcement like traditional concrete/rubber membrane shower base systems, and it’s much faster to install

Manufacturer’s List Price: $1000 – $1,600.00 (does not include finished floor material, walls or fixtures.)
Arc First
www.arcfirst.net
1-877-319-6521


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Tax Time… What you need to know.

Tax Deductions for Home Modifications in 2010

If you have spent money during the last year on home modifications or installing special equipment in your home to accommodate a medical condition or disability, you will be pleased to know that you may be able to recoup some, if not all, of the costs.  The Federal Government offers tax incentives for individuals making accessibility modifications to their home.  It is also suggested you check with your local state to see if they offer any incentives.  For instance in Minnesota, individuals who purchased and installed a stair lift, ramp or elevator at the principal residence of a person with a disability, can apply for a refund of the sales tax paid if the item purchased is authorized by a physician.

FEDERAL INCOME TAX

Medical and Dental Expenses

Costs incurred to implement accessibility modifications in your home are an eligible medical deduction on your Federal Income Tax under “Medical and Dental Expenses”. You can deduct only the amount of eligible medical and dental expenses that is more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

As part of your medical expenses, you can include amounts you paid for special equipment installed in a home, or for improvements, if their main purpose was medical care for you, your spouse, or a dependent.

The cost of permanent improvements that increase the value of your property (such as an elevator) may be partly included as a medical expense.  The cost of the improvement is reduced by the increase in the value of your property…the difference is a medical expense.

If the value of your property is not increased by the improvement, the entire cost is included as a medical expense.  Certain improvements made to your home for accessibility and to accommodate a disability do not usually increase the value of the home and the entire cost can be included as a medical expense. These improvements include, but are not limited to, the following items:

  • Constructing entrance or exit ramps for your home.
  • Widening doorways at entrances or exits to your home.
  • Widening or otherwise modifying hallways and interior doorways.
  • Installing railings, grab bars, or other modifications to bathrooms.
  • Purchasing and installing ceiling mounted lifting devices.
  • Lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment.
  • Moving or modifying electrical outlets and fixtures.
  • Installing stair glides (also known as chair lifts) and platform lifts.
  • Installing elevators (Note: elevators generally add value to the house…see the Capital Expense Worksheet in Publication 502 to determine what portion of the cost is deductible).
  • Modifying fire alarms, smoke detectors, and other warning systems.
  • Modifying stairways.
  • Adding handrails or grab bars anywhere (whether or not in bathrooms).
  • Modifying hardware on doors.
  • Modifying areas in front of entrance and exit doorways.
  • Grading the ground to provide access to the residence.

Only reasonable costs to make a home accessible are considered medical expenses.   Additional costs for personal motives, such as for architectural or aesthetic reasons, are not eligible medical expenses.

Amounts you pay for operation and upkeep of a capital asset qualify as medical expenses, as long as the main reason for them is medical care.  This rule applies even if none or only part of the original cost of the capital asset qualified as a medical care expense.

Improvements to property rented by a person with a disability are also an eligible medical expense.   IRS Publication 502 indicates that “amounts paid by a renter to buy and install special plumbing fixtures in a rented house for a person with a disability, mainly for medical reasons, are medical expenses”.

As written, it appears that qualifying expenses are limited to special plumbing fixtures, yet upon further discussion with the IRS, it is intended that conditions which apply to an owner occupied property (listed above), also apply to rental property.

Example: John has arthritis and a heart condition. He cannot climb stairs or get into a bathtub. On his doctor’s advice, he installs a bathroom with a shower stall on the first floor of his two-story rented house. The landlord did not pay any of the cost of buying and installing the special plumbing and did not lower the rent. John can include the entire amount he paid as medical expenses.

IRS Publication 502 provides information on eligible Medical and Dental Expenses.  To order Federal Tax forms, instructions, and publications call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676; TTY 1-800-829-4059.

You can also call the IRS with your Federal tax questions at 1-800-829-1040; TTY call 1-800-829-4059.


MINNESOTA SPECIAL PURCHASE REFUND CLAIM
Sales Tax Refund

In the State of Minnesota, if you purchase a stair lift, ramp or elevator for installation at the principal residence of a person with a disability, you may request a refund of the sales tax paid if the item purchased is authorized by a physician.  This refund also applies to building materials used to install or construct these items.

In order to claim the refund, you must fill out Minnesota Revenue Form ST11P and attach:

  • A physician’s prescription for the items purchased
  • A copy of invoices showing sales tax paid

For more information on the State of Minnesota “Special Purchase Refund Claim” go to: http://taxes.state.mn.us/forms/Documents/st11p.pdf

or call the Minnesota Department of Revenue at 651-296-6181; TTY users call 711 for the Minnesota Relay System.

Although we have researched and extracted information from the Federal and State web-sites, it is always recommended you check with your tax accountant if you have any additional questions.

We hope this information is beneficial to you!

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Featured Product: TenderCare Beds

The TenderCare Slip-Over Headboards and Footboards restore dignity and beauty to the rooms of those who use hospital beds. The unique design requires no tools to install, and in just minutes can transform a hospital bed into a beautiful piece of furniture.

For individuals who spend a lot of their time in their home hospital beds, or for seniors in long-term care facilities, it is important to have a bed that meets their physical needs, but with TenderCare Bed’s headboards and footboards, they can have the function of a hospital bed without the stigma and unattractive appearance.

The impact of a sterile, hospital-feel in a person’s bedroom can be devastating. Especially when that person spends much of their day in bed. By adding a decorative headboard and footboard, they are able to feel at home.

One customer who purchased a headboard and footboard for her son, stated it very well when she said, “Now my dear son’s room looks like a real bedroom and not like a hospital room. I have always believed that whatever you have in your home should not only be functional, but beautiful. Your medical need for a hospital bed should not dictate your decorating style. Our TenderCare Bed is exactly what I would choose, even if he didn’t have a hospital bed. And that is the best reason to buy one. Because it is beautiful!”

“Promoting better health and wellbeing, through style
and design”

  • Slides right over an existing hospital bed, transforming it into a beautiful piece of furniture
  • Several finishes to choose from (Black, White, North Hampton, Fruitwood, Summer Flame, and more)
  • No tools required for installation – simply slide headboard and footboard onto your bed like a glove
  • Fits most home or long-term care beds
  • Manufactured in Georgia and Colorado
  • Coordinating nightstands, footchests, and wall shelves available
  • Custom designs are available for those with unique needs

Restores dignity and beauty to those who need to use a long-term hospital bed.

Manufacturer’s List Price: $495.00 (for headboard and footboard set)
Contact Accessibility Design for more information or to purchase your TenderCare Bed.

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Invitation Countertop Sink By Kohler

Kohler Invitation Sink The Kohler Invitation sink blends functionality and style. It features a 3″ overhang at the front, allowing full wheelchair accessibility in a conventional countertop installation. The self-rimming basin with 3” overhang provides ample room for grooming and hygiene. When installed with a faucet with a pull-out spout, it can lend beautifully to washing hair.  Strategically designed, the downspout is installed to the side and to the back, allowing for safe and easy knee clearance. A shroud (pipe cover) is available as an additional precaution. With its low profile (top to bottom), this sink also enables a comfortable reach into the basin while maintaining appropriate knee clearance.  Available in 8” center or single-hole installation, this sink can be both beautiful and functional.

Access Features

  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • ADA Complaint
  • Self-Rimming Basin with 3” Overhang Protrudes into the Lap of a Seated User
  • Off-Set Plumbing Installed to the Side and Back Maximizes Knee Clearance
  • Sink Depth Allows for Easy Reach into the Basin
  • Available in 8″ Center or Single Hole
  • Comes with a Cutting Template
  • Optional Removable Shroud
  • 26 1/4” W x 20 1/8” L

Manufacturer’s List Price: $416.70

Can Be Puchased At:
www.Kohler.com
1-800-456-4537

Kohler Sinks

It’s beautiful. We updated our bathroom and my husband got the access he needs for his independent grooming too. How perfect!”
Kohler Invitation SinkKohler Invitation Sink
Kohler Invitation Sink

Kohler Invitation Sink

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Home Safety Checklist for the Elderly

These tips were originally created by the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, but they are so good we wanted to repost them.  We suggest printing them out until they become habit.
————————————————————————————————-
Philadelphia, Pa. – Home is meant to be a haven of safety and comfort, but for adults 65 and older, hazards in a home pose a serious threat to their health and independence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that half of all falls in older adults happen at home and every 35 minutes, someone in this population group dies as a result of their injuries.
“When I walk into a home, I’m primarily looking at tripping hazards, lack of supports, lighting, accessibility of smoke detectors, and how the older adult performs his or her everyday activities,” said Pamalyn Kearney, assistant professor and vice chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Kearney, who specializes in home environment evaluations and works with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, offers proven interventions that can reduce home falls and accidents to help older adults live better and longer:
  • Bathroom modifications: Install grab bars, shower seats, hand-held showers, and raised toilet seats in the bathroom.
  • Stair rails: Install railings on stairs, including basement stairs, and consider railings on both sides of the stairs.
  • Lighting: Increase the wattage of light bulbs for ambient and task lighting, while being careful to not increase glare. Add lamps in areas where tasks are commonly performed, such as a dining room table for bill paying or a living room chair for knitting or reading. Add nightlights in the hallway between the bedroom and bathroom, as it takes time for eyes to adjust from darkness to bright light and this transition can increase the risk of falls.
  • Reduce glare: Eliminate or minimize glare by changing curtains to filter the sunlight, trying different wattages or styles of light bulbs, putting table cloths on glass tables, using low gloss polish or wax on floors and furniture, and if there is glare on the stairs, adding additional ambient light along the stairs.
  • Entrances: Install a shelf at the main entrance door to hold items when locking and unlocking the door and install lever handles, as they require less grip strength and can be opened with an elbow or forearm if the person is carrying items, such as groceries.
  • Clear Walkways: Remove things you can trip over, such as papers, books, clothes, and shoes, from stairs and places where you walk, and tack telephone cords and appliance cords along walls to remove them from walkways.
  • Climbing: Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool. If an older adult does have to climb to reach spaces or for over-head tasks, consider a reacher device or a step stool with a handle that offers more stability than a standard step stool or climbing up on a chair.
  • Increase contrast: Avoid low contrasting items, such as a white bathtub surrounded by white tiled walls, and dark plates on dark placemats on a dark table, as this can make it difficult for someone with low vision to find the plate. Adding contrast is as simple as a blue tub mat in a white bathtub or painting the edge of the steps a contrasting color from the rest of the step surface.
  • Heat safety: As we move into the summer season, it’s also important to check for air conditioners or fans.  Older adults are at an increased risk for complications from hot and humid weather, including heat stroke and dehydration.
While these generic modifications to help reduce home falls and accidents can be helpful, Kearney recommends a proper home evaluation. “It is important to look at how the individual performs daily activities in the home environment so that recommendations and modifications are matched appropriately to the individual’s habits and routines.”

Home Safety Checklist for the Elderly A Health Tip from University of the Sciences in PhiladelphiaKey points: Remove tripping hazards.Place frequently-used items within easy reach. Evaluate lighting conditions to increase wattage of bulbs while reducing glare. Install handrails and grab bars on stairs and in bathrooms. Conduct a professional home evaluation to match individual needs and habits.
Philadelphia, Pa. – Home is meant to be a haven of safety and comfort, but for adults 65 and older, hazards in a home pose a serious threat to their health and independence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that half of all falls in older adults happen at home and every 35 minutes, someone in this population group dies as a result of their injuries. “When I walk into a home, I’m primarily looking at tripping hazards, lack of supports, lighting, accessibility of smoke detectors, and how the older adult performs his or her everyday activities,” said Pamalyn Kearney, assistant professor and vice chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.Kearney, who specializes in home environment evaluations and works with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, offers proven interventions that can reduce home falls and accidents to help older adults live better and longer:Bathroom modifications: Install grab bars, shower seats, hand-held showers, and raised toilet seats in the bathroom. Stair rails: Install railings on stairs, including basement stairs, and consider railings on both sides of the stairs. Lighting: Increase the wattage of light bulbs for ambient and task lighting, while being careful to not increase glare. Add lamps in areas where tasks are commonly performed, such as a dining room table for bill paying or a living room chair for knitting or reading. Add nightlights in the hallway between the bedroom and bathroom, as it takes time for eyes to adjust from darkness to bright light and this transition can increase the risk of falls. Reduce glare: Eliminate or minimize glare by changing curtains to filter the sunlight, trying different wattages or styles of light bulbs, putting table cloths on glass tables, using low gloss polish or wax on floors and furniture, and if there is glare on the stairs, adding additional ambient light along the stairs. Entrances: Install a shelf at the main entrance door to hold items when locking and unlocking the door and install lever handles, as they require less grip strength and can be opened with an elbow or forearm if the person is carrying items, such as groceries. Clear Walkways: Remove things you can trip over, such as papers, books, clothes, and shoes, from stairs and places where you walk, and tack telephone cords and appliance cords along walls to remove them from walkways. Climbing: Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool. If an older adult does have to climb to reach spaces or for over-head tasks, consider a reacher device or a step stool with a handle that offers more stability than a standard step stool or climbing up on a chair.  Increase contrast: Avoid low contrasting items, such as a white bathtub surrounded by white tiled walls, and dark plates on dark placemats on a dark table, as this can make it difficult for someone with low vision to find the plate. Adding contrast is as simple as a blue tub mat in a white bathtub or painting the edge of the steps a contrasting color from the rest of the step surface.  Heat safety: As we move into the summer season, it’s also important to check for air conditioners or fans.  Older adults are at an increased risk for complications from hot and humid weather, including heat stroke and dehydration.
While these generic modifications to help reduce home falls and accidents can be helpful, Kearney recommends a proper home evaluation. “It is important to look at how the individual performs daily activities in the home environment so that recommendations and modifications are matched appropriately to the individual’s habits and routines.”

Key points:

  • Remove tripping hazards.
  • Place frequently-used items within easy reach.
  • Evaluate lighting conditions to increase wattage of bulbs while reducing glare.
  • Install handrails and grab bars on stairs and in bathrooms.
  • Conduct a professional home evaluation to match individual needs and habits.

Contact us for more information and ideas on how we can make your home Accessible Approved.

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20th Anniversary Of The Americans With Disabilities Act

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act that was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush. In realty it’s a civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability.

The official ADA has 5 Titles that cover employment, public entities and public transportation, public accommodations and commercial facilities, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions. According to a 2005 report by the Census Bureau counts 54 million disabled people in the United States.

We at Accessibility Design continue to work to improving the lives of all disabled.  Contact us if you want more information on our solutions and to find out how we can help you.

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Gary Owens On Blog Talk Radio

Gary Owens just sent us a link to his conversation about his home health care product the Tender Care Bed. It’s a good interview to learn more about what inspired Gary to create products.  He talks about how important small changes to the environment improve quality of life.  You don’t want to miss this.

Taking The ” Hospital ” Out Of Hospital Beds

Listen to internet radio with DaleC on Blog Talk Radio
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