If your parent has walking difficulties or uses a walking aid of any type using a ramp
to enter your home will be a helpful and safe situation. Ramps can be purchased of
different lengths to vary the angle. The best angle or pitch of a ramp is __%. In our
“do It Yourself” area we have examples and hints to ramp building and installation.
Main entrance thresholds are often times a difficult obstacle and if possible some
type of support or hand railing will help steady your parent. If they use a walker it
will take lifting the walker over the threshold, even if the walker has wheels. Look
at this area to determine the best way to make this easy to overcome.
In most climates with any outside condition your parent may want a coat or sweater
to ware. It is best if possible to have them put on the outerwear before getting set to
go thru the doorway. Your parent may not have the flexibility to raise their arms up
so gently bringing the outer garment up from below waist level will help inn getting
the garment on easily and safely by letting them position one arm and holding on to
a railing or walker with the other arm. Please review the video below for some tips
Much like a main entrance threshold transitions in flooring material is a challenge
especially with a walking aid that may be scooted across the floor. If you have
differences in height of flooring materials from room to room you may want to
consider adding a transition piece to lessen the differences and make it a much safer
situation. Sometimes a simple metal transition strip found in any hardware store
will be easy and quick for almost any homeowner to install. Additionally wooden
transition strips can me easily made to compensate for large differences in height.
Please review our “DIY” section to see examples and techniques in making and
installing your own.
Stairways are always a challenge for the elderly parent. It is very important to have
railings on both sides to the wall in any stepping situation. On a outside swinging
screen door there needs to be enough room on the landing for them to move out of
the doors path or you may want to consider removing the storm door if your parent
will be entering thru the doorway frequently. If you do not want to remove the
screen door take a look at possibly using the “hold open” function found on many
pneumatic door closing systems to make the door less of an obstacle to “get around”.
If your parent has to ascend or descend stairs regularly and / or if they have
difficulties you may wish to investigate a motorized lifting system, where your
parent can sit comfortably while the drive system moves them up and down the
It is important in hallways and stairways to have good lighting. Bright lighting helps
them locate the steep edges more accurately and safely. Sometimes installing a
larger luminescent bulb will help or you can “daisy chain” an additional light. When
it comes to lighting stairs there are a number of options, if you have easy access to
additional electrical service like outlets close or on the stairs.
Depending on the design of your home, climate conditions and the activity level of
your parent, you may wish to consider what type of overhead and shielding
covering you have on the outside of the home. A good covering makes the walkway
as safe as possible (eliminating the accumulation of rain, snow and ice). Finding one
outside doorway that can be regularly used will make the activity predictable and