Handicap Accessible Remodeling in Gardner, which is commonly referred to as Universal Design, Barrier-Free Living, and also Aging in place, has a whole lot more pro’s than con’s. Actually, I don’t think I can think of one single con besides the homeowner feeling that grab bars are an eye sore in their home and they’re not old enough for that yet! So we are here to talk all about the things that go into making your home easy to live in as your abilities change.
“Universal design is the creation of environments and products which are meant to usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialization. The intent of universal design is to enhance the quality of life for all of us, regardless of age or ability.” – www.AgingInPlace.com
One of the biggest challenges in implementing Universal Design (Gardner Handicap Accessible Remodeling) is helping a homeowner to overcome the many misconceptions that surround this type of design. There tends to be resistance in the “getting old” part of it, when in reality, by definition it is just an easier, more adaptable style of living to fit your growing needs. Unfortunately none of us are getting younger (we may as well come to terms with that now!), and while you may be involved in a remodel, why not at least lay the groundwork for the years to come! For instance, if you are involved in a bathroom remodel, why not just have your remodeler install the blocking for the grab bars for future use, if wanted and needed? Sounds like a brilliant, brainless plan! (You’re welcome!) Aside from just allowing you to spend your golden years in the comfort of your own home, this design can also help with more minor, temporary setbacks like surgeries or injuries, while you go through your rehabilitation period, as well as assisting you down the road. Barrier-free living (Gardner Handicap Accessible Remodeling) really is just an all around good design to stick with. We will go more in depth as we move on. One other point that should be made when speaking of Universal Design is the thought that one day, you may possibly be moving a family member into your home. Universal Design not only allows for a more accessible living space at any age, but it offers everyone a great deal of independence and comfort.
The next order of business is addressing access to your house. Whether it be you, or a loved one, that needs better, easier access to your home, the entry is a great place to start! There are a few things to think about when providing easier access to your home for you or others. The first thing to think about is your walkway to the front of your house. It helps to plan and construct a straight, or a sweeping-curved walk way that is on a small incline, this way it is leading you up towards the house. The curvatures help the walkway be easier to deal with and more friendly, rather than harsh turns that can make it hard to maneuver! Next, it can be helpful, depending on the lifestyle, to build either a temporary or permanent ramp to the front door, if necessary. In the same respect, you might prefer your builder create a space that allows for a lift. This is obviously all according to your lifestyle. This next point does not just apply for Universal Design (Gardner Handicap Accessible Remodeling), but to all designs! Proper, adequate lighting! How often do you go to an unfamiliar house, or your own for that matter, and trip over something? This is so very dangerous so please, please, PLEASE double check your lighting along walk ways, on the porch, in the home, everywhere! Thank you for your anticipated cooperation. J One nice feature that isn’t absolutely necessary, but is a great touch, is a package shelf, or grocery hooks. I’m sure we’ve all spent time at the front door, fumbling with our keys with tons of things in our hands as we try and unlock the front door. Why don’t we every make it easy on ourselves? You’re one minor step away! Lastly on the topic of entry ways, it is a good idea to have a covered entry. Mother Nature isn’t always in the best of moods, so it’s a good idea to keep away from the elements as best we can!
Moving inside the home, there are many things that a homeowner may not immediately see as an issue. It’s like that old saying says, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Right? WRONG! Sometimes we need to take the initiative to allow for a better quality of life later on. We will start with proper lighting, again. You may think I’m overdoing it by mentioning this again, but I cannot stress enough how important this is. Scenario: You did a great thing by buying your precious pup that you adore so much, a new bone. He did a great thing by leaving it at the front door for you when you got home. Only his great thing results in a late night trip to the emergency room because you slipped on it and broke your ankle! You need to be able to see. Wide hallways and doorways – this is huge. Some wheelchairs cannot fit through a standard doorway. The way the door is hinged and the way it opens, that can alter the space. Not only do we want to fit the chair itself, but also arms, legs and anything that might be protruding. Normally, a 32´wide doorway should suffice and be plenty. Lever handles are better than knobs, as well as light switches being push button, or even automatic (these are fun and exciting, and will really surprise your guests!), instead of a standard flip switch. Instead of double hung windows throughout your home, go for the casement windows with the hand crank. These options allow for easier execution in the operation, especially for someone with the inability to grasp, similar to arthritis, etc. Slip resistant flooring is absolutely a great option, and proves to be a huge help for anyone.
Quickly running through the kitchen, lower counter heights are an option, and can be tailored to meet your exact needs. Along the same lines, shorter, lower cabinets and rollout shelves are great alternatives to traditional wall cabinets. A sink that is wheelchair accessible might be something that interests you. Also, a large pantry can provide plenty of storage, as well as installing hydraulic cabinets that grant greater access to more adequate storage. Of course, we have to mention lighting! Task lighting in the kitchen tends to work out very well, and add some light to the subject!
Stairs may or may not be in the cards for you, or you already have them and would like to leave them out of the equation for your “new” home. Either way dual, graspable, secure handrails should accompany any set of stairs. There is also an option for a stairlift that runs along a track that’s installed along the stairwell and allows the person to enjoy their journey to the upstairs without fussing with the actual stairs themselves!
The bathroom can be a tricky place, and there are so many universally designed products that you would never know existed. Things like a removable vanity, where the section under the sink is mobile and can be set aside, thus granting greater access to the sink, drawers, mirror, etc. Not into a vanity at all? Another way to solve the sink access issue is to purchase and install a wall hung sink. This can be accompanied by a detached medicine set up wherever is most convenient. A few other things to think about are choosing a comfortable, height appropriate toilet, as well as installing non-slip tile. The shower should be a topic of its’ own, but we will touch on it briefly and go further in depth in an upcoming blog post. Barrier-free showers with a floor drain are the way to go! Beautiful, custom tiled, built in shower benches, along with an enlarged shower area for mobility.
We welcome your questions, and look forward to the opportunity and the privilege to work with you making your dream home a reality! We want to help you be as comfortable as possible in your own home, for as long as possible.
Visit our website (www.DBSremodel.com), shoot us an e-mail, give us a call or come visit our showroom!