Accessibility in New Home Construction or Renovations

(Since my daughter is mobility impaired, I will start off with those tips first. Please email me if you have accessibility suggestions for other types of disabilities as well.)

Design the exterior and interior of the home to look as typical as possible.

Try to use natural grading where possible instead of ramps. Both grading and ramps should have a maximum incline of 12 inches of length to every one (1) inch of rise. Width should be 36" or more. Broom-finished concrete provides a nice texture for ramps outdoors.

Avoid 90 degree turns. At the very least, hallways should be 36" wide, but 48" is preferable.

Plan for plenty of electrical outlets for medical equipment.

Consider a roll-in shower with a shower chair. It eliminates the need to transfer into a tub. (Some models of shower chairs can also double as potty chairs.) Most Hoyer-type lifts are tipsy unless the base can go under the tub.

Grab bars in the bathtub or shower and around commode (toilet).

Plan lots of storage space for supplies and equipment!

Light switches, electrical outlets, and thermostats should be reachable from a standing or seated position. Use large button, rocker light switches, OR think about a motion detector which turns lights on when someone enters a room and shuts them off after leaving.

Use Lazy Susans and/or shelves that pull all the way out to reach items in the back of cabinets and closets.

Install levered door handles, and mount loop handles near hinged edge of doors to make them easier to close. Lower or remove thresholds.

Front-loading washer and dryer with control panels on front. It helps if they are elevated.

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