accessibility Archives - Lift and Accessibility Solutions

For those who have limited mobility, a wheelchair is often times the only solution for difficult days. While some people need a wheelchair all the time, others can walk for short periods of time such as those with Multiple Sceloris. Other times the use of a wheelchair is temporary while recovering from a stroke. Fortunately, in today’s world the advancements in science gives people with disabilities several options for comfort as well as a healthy productive life. One such advancement that those with mobility issues have seen is that of the standing wheelchair. At first glance, the term standing wheelchair may seem like an unusual concept, we’re so used to the traditional sitting wheelchair. However, the standing wheelchair is a real benefit for its users. Here is why it’s such a great product.

Good for your health

According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting for extended periods is not good for your health. In fact it contributes to metabolic syndrome, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and more. The standing wheelchair allows users to change from a sitting position to an upright one by the use of hydraulic-powered mechanisms thereby improving their health.

 Change of scenery

The upright wheelchair allows riders to change their position to enjoy scenery they may not otherwise have seen sitting down. In addition, if there is something they need to reach, they can easily press a button and the chair will lift them to a standing position thus allowing them to get access to whatever item they need.

 Enhances social interactions

Often times when people in wheelchairs meet friends or acquaintances, it can be difficult to interact socially. The person in the wheelchair may feel awkward or inferior having to look up the whole time. There is something so empowering for the disabled person to be able to be upright and have a face to face conversation with friends. The standing wheelchair encourages social bonding by allowing both parties to have closer contact with each other.

The standing wheelchair is a comfortable innovation that brings the user many benefits. Enhance your overall well-being with this unique product. The powerful motor does the work while you lean comfortably on wide cushioned armrests. Most designs are convenient to tote around with easy folding and storage options. Adjustable armrests and leg rest options come with many models. Enjoy the freedom of being able to stand up whenever you like with the standing wheelchair.

As family members age, you may be faced with the task of installing a wheelchair or accessibility ramp in their home – or, perhaps, in your own. In order to ensure that the ramp is completely safe for your loved one’s use, there are several things you should consider. With some careful planning, you should be able to avoid common roadblocks that can occur when building an accessibility ramp or deck.

Space Limitations

Limited space is one of the biggest complications you may encounter. Whether it’s due to trees, other structures or simply the fact that there is not much room available, limited space can make ramp construction a bit more difficult. The best way to work around this problem is by constructing a U-shaped or L-shaped ramp, so as to accommodate more ramp length in a smaller space.

Building Codes

The building codes in place for accessibility are stricter for commercial buildings than for residential, but there still may be requirements from your HOA or local laws. Be sure to look into them before you start construction, so that you aren’t caught with a ramp that doesn’t adhere to safety standards and codes.

Ramp Slope & Platforms

The standard for ramp slope is 1:12, meaning that for every one foot of elevation you will need 12 feet of ramp length. You may prefer a slope of 1:14 or even 1:16 for a gentler rise, depending on the health and strength of your loved one. Also bear in mind that you cannot have a ramp run of more than 30 feet without a flat platform for rest, which needs to also be 60” x 60” if the ramp changes directions after that platform.

Handrails & Materials

With ramps that have a rise over six inches or that are longer than 72 inches, it’s recommended that you install handrails. Remember that you must have at least three feet (36 inches) of clear ramp between the handrails to accommodate a wheelchair! Also, it’s advised that you select nonskid and weatherproof materials for any ramps that will be exposed to outdoor elements.

By knowing these potential pitfalls ahead of time, hopefully you will be able to successfully construct and install a safe and sturdy accessibility ramp or deck. If you have more questions, or if you’d like to learn about the ramp options we offer, contact us today!

As you age, it gets a little harder to do things that you used to be able to do without thinking. Climbing stairs, maintaining your balance while walking, and reading fine print definitely make life harder, but there are ways of compensating for that like a walker, railings and chairlifts, and bifocals and reading glasses. The real struggle for many seniors though is lifting or carrying weight that used to be easy for you to shift on your own, but now feels far heavier than it used to. Unloading groceries from the car and carrying them up from the garage to the kitchen or moving laundry from the second floor to the first or your basement leaves you feeling like you just made a round trip to the peak of Mount Everest and back. Downsizing to a one-story house and moving your whole life to a new place seems even more complicated, expensive, and inconvenient, so what should you do?

Dumbwaiter Is A Solution

One solution that many senior citizens find particularly effective is to install a dumbwaiter in their home to automate carrying things to different floors. A dumbwaiter is like a small enclosed elevator for transferring household items safely and easily.  Simply load whatever needs to be transferred to a different floor into the dumbwaiter, close it up, then go upstairs or downstairs and have it lifted or lowered directly to you. No more worrying about losing your balance while carrying a laundry basket or bags of groceries on the stairs, and no more straining on your own or having to ask for help every time you need to bring groceries in or run a load of washing.

Cost Considerations

Installing a dumbwaiter allows you to live independently in your own home without the need for uprooting your life and moving into a smaller, more convenient home. It may seem like a significant expense given what is involved in the proper installation and setup for a dumbwaiter, but considering the statistic that selling your home and buying a new home often costs in excess of $25,000 in realtor fees alone, the cost of installing a dumbwaiter is significantly less than moving costs. It also allows you to stay in the home where you have probably spent the majority of your life and planned to stay in permanently.

If you are struggling with the day to day tasks of independent living such as carrying items up and down stairs or getting around while carrying things in your home, you should definitely set up a consultation for dumbwaiter installation. There is no reason to upend your life when a simple and effective solution will let you stay independent and in your own home.

Many people are deciding to replace their old bathtub showers with barrier-free showers nowadays, and not always for the reasons you might think. When most people think about barrier-free showers, they think of them as being installed for safety concerns, usually for the elderly. While they do provide a great deal of safety and ease, they can also create a stylish, spa-like bathroom.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, barrier-free showers are walk-in showers that have no curb over which you have to step to get into the shower. They are a great alternative to traditional bathtubs, and more and more people are going that route. Since most people rarely use their bathtubs in the traditional, soaking bath way, many are finding a sleek, safe and easily-accessible alternative in walk-in, barrier-free showers.

Benefits of Barrier-Free

There are many obvious benefits of going barrier-free, but many people are hesitant about getting rid of their bathtub. If you have small children or take baths often, barrier-free would not be for you. However, if you are like many of us who only take showers, you could consider some of these additional benefits of going the walk-in route.

  • Safety: This is one of the primary benefits of barrier-free showers. Without a curb or lip to step over when you get in or out, the risk of falling is greatly reduced.
  • Easily Accessed: Similar to the safety benefit, barrier-free showers are just easier to enter. This may not seem like a big concern for some, but it is a big deal to those in a wheelchair or have other mobility problems. It also comes in handy if you ever twist an ankle or have any other leg injury that hinders your movements.
  • Style: This is the aspect that many people do not realize. Barrier-free showers provide a sleek, European look that will help modernize the entire bathroom.

What to Consider

If you have decided to go barrier-free with your shower, there are a few things to consider before the installation. You need to decide upon the depth of the base, the width of the opening and the type of tile to be used. You also need to consider the texture you want for the tile and a few other small details. Most importantly, make sure to select an installer who is certified and experienced in the installation of them. Unless you are a professional yourself, you will almost certainly overlook some aspect, and a certified professional will be familiar with every step of the process.

As people age, they may start to need assistance in getting around in everyday life. There are many ways to ensure these individuals have the help they need and can move about on their own with dignity. Particularly if you are caring for an aging parent in your home, it is wise to consider installing grab bars in trouble areas. A few trouble areas to consider are mainly the bathtub, toilet, shower areas, as well as bedsides. The reasons and benefits of why you should install grab bars are pretty straightforward and obvious: safety, safety, safety. Here are a few different types of grab bars and their benefits to you or your family member in need.

A Vertical Pull Grab Bar
This particular grab bar is great for multiple locations, including bedroom, bathroom, and living room. It usually comes as an adjustable length bar and often has a curved grab bar attached at a perpendicular angle. This curved grab bar is either fixed or is adjustable as well to suit varying heights of users. This bar is great for helping people to pull themselves up from a seated position. Additionally, this bar is great if you live in an apartment which won’t allow you install permanent fixtures. The vertical grab bar usually features rubber stoppers on both ends. When you adjust it to the proper height to fit the space, it should fit snugly and securely against floor and ceiling.

A Horizontal Grab Bar
This is probably the most common type of grab bar which people choose to install to assist limited-mobility family members. They can easily be installed just about anywhere they are needed. A horizontal grab bar provides a stable spot for someone to reach for. Never install a grab bar at an angle. This is especially true if you are installing the bar in a wet environment, like the bathtub or shower. “Slippery when wet” comes to mind; if the bar is at an angle and is wet, the likelihood someone will slip increases dramatically. Their hand is much more likely to slide or slip if the angled bar gets wet. Install the bar either completely horizontally or completely vertically. There are permanent, metal horizontal grab bars which you can install. Also, you might need to consider a temporary suction cup bar. Maintain extra caution with these “temporary” grab bars. The suctions cups don’t always remain suctioned to their surface and can fall! But if you live in an apartment which absolutely refuses to let you install anything permanent, these are better than nothing.

Clamp-on Safety Bar
This type of safety bar is especially good to consider if, again, you live someplace that will not allow you to install a permanent solution. This grab bar features dial down clamps that securely grip the edge of the bathtub. Then an adjustable clamp bar (typically in an upside down U shape) extends vertically to your preferred height to provide a grip. This is a great, non-permanent solution to provide someone a little extra help getting in and out of their bath safely.

An overhead lift is a motorized lift that can be used in the home in order to transfer a person from one place to another, or simply be re-positioned with the assistance of an overhead track. These tracks can either be self-standing, making them portable, or they can be mounted on the ceiling of any room throughout the house. A sling is used in order to move the person from place to place or to make themselves more comfortable where they are. The patient is transferred in an up and down motion and can manually be moved from one side to another.

After realizing how valuable these lifts were in assisting hospital staffs, they are now available for use at home, although a lot of people in need are unaware of their availability. Ceiling lifts make it possible for patients to be in the comforts of their own home instead of having to spend additional time in either a hospital or after care facility. The strain that is often experienced by a caregiver is greatly reduced with the use of an overhead lift and makes it easier to move the patient from place to place.

Because of the fact that specific needs differ from one patient to the next, an assessment should be completed on the person in need before the purchase of an overhead lift to make sure they are getting a model that will be of benefit for their individual purposes. Different makes and models of overhead lifts differ in the capabilities and features that are offered. This need to be taken into consideration in regards to the needs of the patient.

The type of sling used with the lift should match the needs of the person it will be used for. You will also want to keep in mind what the lift will be used for when choosing a sling. If the main purpose of the lift is helping the patient readjust or change their position while in bed, you might need the same type of sling intended for helping someone who specifically needs assistance with access to and from a bathroom. This is something you might discuss with a nurse or other health care provider in order to make sure the proper sling is being used.

You will want to select an overhead lift model that includes an over speed governor to be sure that the lift is not being raised or lowered at unsafe speeds. An emergency lowering system is another feature that adds to the safety of the lift.

Part of the aging process means accounting for physical changes that can reduce one’s mobility. Whether individuals decide to age in an assisted living facility or in their homes is dependent on costs, needs and resources. The decision to remain in one’s home often means changes must be made to accommodate safety and accessibility. Contractors and companies that specialize in making homes accessible and safe for aging seniors can help. Living in one’s home throughout the aging process does not have to become an impractical choice or beyond one’s financial reach. Although needs may change, simple and affordable home modifications can make it easier to live safely. The following represents the top things seniors and their loved ones should consider before making structural changes to their homes:

1. Needs: What are your specific concerns and needs related to safety and accessibility? Seniors that use a wheelchair or walking equipment will likely need to replace stairs with ramps or stair lifts for greater accessibility. Consider whether it makes practical sense to make changes to any outdoor or indoor stairwells. What areas of the house will you continue to use? Some seniors decide that replacing an indoor staircase with a ramp is unnecessary if they do not need to gain access to specific portions of the house. For instance, a live-in caregiver may reside within the areas that are accessible via the staircase and the separation will serve both parties well.

2. Costs: What will it cost you to make the necessary changes to your home? Will you need financial assistance? It is best to make a list of the changes you will need to make and get an estimate from a licensed contractor. If the changes involve the purchase and installation of stair lifts, decks, ramps, support bars, and elevators, research the anticipated costs with several companies. These types of changes can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Several agencies and volunteer organizations, such as the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), may be able to provide financial assistance. Mortgage lenders may also offer products that can supply funds to pay for upgrades.

3. Modifications: Does carpet need to be removed and replaced with a slip-resistant alternative? Is any laminate or wood flooring potentially unsafe? Sometimes simple changes such as a rug will do the trick. Do the bathrooms need to have support bars or special tubs and showers installed? Do doorknobs and handles need to be replaced with arthritis-friendly levers? These are questions about modifications you will want to ask before contracting any work that needs to be done. It is best to list all modifications ahead of time so that all equipment and work that needs to be completed can be done at the same time.

Overall, these are some things to consider when making your Santa Rosa, CA home more accessible to seniors. Whether you are making changes to your home for yourself or for your loved ones, think about the needs, costs, and modifications involved so you can be fully prepared.


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