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As your parents or loved ones age, their homes may not age so well along with them. Older homes in Minneapolis and St Paul could be difficult to navigate once decreased vision, mobility, strength and other effects of aging start to take tool. Stay at home can help with easy low cost ways to modify the home so they can stay at home! A few things that help right away are:
1. Widen doorways with offset hinges.- Navigating a narrow doorway is tough for people in a wheelchair or walker. As easy solution is to replace the existing hinges with expandable offset door hinges. You will need at least 3 in. between the inside of the doorjamb and the adjoining wall for the hinges to fit.
2. Replace toggle switches with rocker switches- It's easier for stiff or arthritic hands to press flat, rocker style switches than to manipulate toggles.
3. Replace Cabinet knobs with handles-Arthritis and stiff joints make grabbing small round knobs on cabinet drawers and doors difficult.
4. Raise your washer and dryer- This is easier on aging backs and knees, set your front- loading washing machines and dryers on pedestals 12-15 in above the floor.
5. Install "invisible" grab bars- You can find stylish and sturdy grab bars in many shapes, sizes and finishes.
6. Extend stair rails- Having a handrail added for even two steps is helpful for many aging people who need help with balance and moving up or down stairs.
Ella’s Bubbles – a Chicago-based OEM manufacturer and distributor of acrylic walk-in bathtubs and accessible showers – has spearheaded acrylic walk-in bathtub development, production, and distribution in North America since 2005. We offer exceptional craftsmanship, world-class customer service, and creative insights to help both distributors and dealers enhance their brand.
Ella’s Bubbles promotes independence and pleasure through elegant design, innovation, and safety solutions – in our client’s bathrooms and beyond. As a trusted industry source, we provide the consistency and reliability that businesses and consumers demand when it comes to bath fixtures.
What makes an Ella Acrylic Walk In Bath stand out in the crowd?
Ella Acrylic Walk In Baths help transform your bathroom into a luxurious, safe place to retreat to each day as part of a healthy lifestyle. Our Dual Drain system assures you an easy exit from your spa in as little as 80 seconds* without relying on pumps or motor. We’ve doubled up on everything to ensure your safety… Two 2″ Brass floor drains linked by four stainless steel cables to the comfortable, ADA compliant Brass overflow covers mean safe exit from your spa every time.
Invisia is an Ottawa based company that specializes in beautiful bathroom accessories that also keep people safe. Since 2008, Invisia has designed grab bars and bathroom seating that blend style and safety to provide peace of mind while contributing to an elegant bathroom environment.Everything Invisia designs and manufactures is inspired by the idea that style and safety are not mutually exclusive. Something that’s elegant can also be functional. Something that’s beautiful can also provide security. Something stunning can be safe. Invisia products get noticed. Most people just don’t realize how safe they are.
As Stay at Home looks to improve accessibility and safety one option is swapping stairs for ramps in your home or yard. Laura Gaskill from Houzz.com explains how to do this at your home in Minneapolis, Brainerd Lakes or in Hayward, Wisconsin.
If you or someone in your household is in a wheelchair, ramps are a must for navigating between the levels of your home, both indoors and out. That doesn’t mean they need to be purely utilitarian, though. By working with an experienced pro, you can have a ramp that is safe, stylish and perfectly suited to the style of your home. And because they are safer than stairs, ramps can be a good choice for homes with young kids … plus, they’re just more fun. Get all the facts on adding this feature to your home or yard below.
Wheelchair accessibility may be the most obvious reason, but it’s far from the only one. A ramp is also helpful for aging-in-place design, and it’s more fun (and safer) than stairs for young children. With proper planning, a ramp can fit into indoor and outdoor spaces just as well as a traditional staircase, providing visual interest, function and fun. If you plan to sell your home eventually, a well-designed ramp could even make your home more appealing to a wider range of buyers.
If you are looking to build a wheelchair-accessible ramp, choose a designer/builder who is familiar with Americans With Disabilities Act design standards. Following these standards will ensure that the grade of the ramp is safe; the path is wide enough to maneuver a chair on; the flooring material is a safe, nonslip surface; the path is well lit and so on.
Cost: For design and installation, the price can be around $2,000 for a relatively simple, small outdoor ramp. For larger and more elaborate custom designs, the cost can range from $3,500 to $8,000 — consider it on par with the price of having a new interior staircase built.
Your choice of materials will also affect the cost. Concrete or synthetic decking, for example, would be on the lower end of the price range, and fine hardwoods used on an interior ramp on the higher end. By working with your architect or designer, you should be able to choose a material that fits the style of your space and your budget.
Typical project length: A small ramp (equivalent to two or three steps) with a straightforward design can be completed in about two weeks, depending on your site. Larger ramps (the size of a staircase between floors) and more intricate designs can take six to eight weeks or more. If adding a ramp requires major restructuring of other areas of your home, consider the timetable similar to that of a major remodel.
First steps: Decide where you want the ramp to go and think about why you are having it installed. Is it for accessibility, for aging in place or purely for fun? What is your budget and timetable for this project?
Although the architect or designer you choose will give you design guidance, it will be helpful to be familiar with what you like. Save photos you like to share with your designer to make sure you are both on the same page.
Ultimately, it’s important to choose someone whose work you admire and who you feel you can work well with.
When remodeling or building a new home, consider designing your bathroom with an accessible shower. It is much easier to include an accessible shower when remodeling or building is already occurring instead of waiting until you need it; plus it can save you time, money, and stress down the road.
Some people worry that accessible showers are “ugly”, but that does not have to be the case. Below is an article that John Whipple wrote on Houzz about features to consider when designing an accessible shower. As you can see, the accessible showers are stunning.
So why wait until you need an accessible shower, when emotions and stress levels are high? Have one installed now when you can enjoy your beautiful shower for years to come!
How to Design an Accessible Shower
When designing a shower for someone in his or her golden years, remember that this person may have poor vision, balance or mobility. A caregiver or spouse may need room to help with the bathing process, so a shower space should be generously sized and include room to enter with an extra person, a wheelchair or a walker.
That said, an accessible shower does not need to lack in style, as these examples show. Being proactive in your next shower renovation means you can include some or all of these features, even before you need them. It's better to be ready for accessibility than have to scramble to renovate when the need arrives.
Here are some things to consider when planning a shower for seniors.
This shower was designed and built by Harrell Remoldeling. This team's projects always sparkle, and this is a gem. Notice the placement of the grab bars in this bathroom — very well thought out.
If you live in a warmer climate, you may not need a shower door or shower curtain at all. Designing the space as a true wet room — with the entire bathroom floor as a shower pan — makes entry into the shower effortless and provides plenty of room for a caregiver.
Tip: When planning a wet room, consider a wall-hung toilet. This toilet makes building the wet room much easier, since it does not send waste through the floor's waterproofing system. You can also place a wall-hung toilet in a higher position, which makes getting on and off it much easier.
When it comes to a shower's footprint or size, bigger is always better for seniors. This wonderful shower features an oversize door that makes entering the shower space very easy.
Tip: Place the shower control valves near the entry so you don't need to get wet when starting the shower and letting it warm up.
Installing large-format tile can create a nice, level surface for a removable shower stool or shower bench. This shower also includes a handheld spray wand to make bathing easier.
Tip: Unless you're building in a shower bench from the very beginning, consider a one-way slope on your shower floor (like in this photo), so the shower's bench or stool does not rock when it's sat on. Often showers with a standard single-point drain have multiple slopes, and a four-legged stool will rock on these types of floors.
This bathroom was designed and built by By Design Builders, which specified an LED drain light so the client can keep his or her bearings when the shower steams up. If you suffer from a vision impairment, consider one of these LED light kits and linear shower drains.
Tip: Ensure that your bathroom is safely lit at night. Also consider installing nightlights to clearly illuminate the hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom.
Stepping into a regular soaker tub can be hard to do for anyone, but it's more manageable if the distance into the tub is reduced with a step and there are grab bars.
If your shower or bath is dark and you need a little extra light, one or two of these LED grab bars from Elio might be just what you need. They can switch on and off and glow with a nice white light.
Tip: It is not uncommon for someone to slip while getting on or off the toilet, or in or out of the tub. If a pull-chain safety monitor switch cannot be installed nearby, consider a wireless device that can be worn as a necklace.
If your home is connected to a monitored home alarm system, consider installing a panic button in the shower. Many can be switched out to a version with a pull chain.
Tip: When someone falls, sometimes they can't get up, so make the button or pull chain accessible from a prone position.
If a shower curb absolutely needs to be installed, make sure it's as low as possible. At 5 to 7 1/2 inches high, traditional shower curbs can be difficult to step over for those with poor mobility or vision. This shower curb is just under 2 inches, allowing easier access.
Tip: Consider custom grab bars for a shower's glass entry door. These grab bars have a hammered finish, making them easier to grip with soapy hands. I like installing a grab bar right at the entry of the shower and near the shower niche, so bathers can steady themselves when entering and exiting the shower, and when reaching for the shampoo bottle.
The Stay At Home Blog is dedicated to improving knowledge and education regarding aging in place and to creating a safe living environment for seniors who choose to live at home.