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Accessible Design: Entranceways and Doorways

By: Tonya Bruin

Accessible Design: Entrance Ways and Doorways

Whether you have an elderly loved one living at home or a loved one with mobility issues, adapting certain areas of the home can be crucial in order to allow them to move around freely and maintain independence and dignity. Especially during this time of year when the cold weather is about to hit, it’s important to bear in mind that many disabled individuals and the elderly simply have a much harder time getting around. We need to accommodate for this through thoughtful interior and exterior design. If the outside of your home is prepared for a winter of safe and accessible access, it’s time to focus indoors on shared areas like entrance walkways and doorways, where people go in and out of your home. These areas, for example, can be focal areas to adjust and maintain more prudently to ensure it’s safe when entering or exiting. Here are some options that are recommended to enhance the ease and safety of such spaces at home.

Minor Accessibility Improvements

First, let’s go over some smaller changes you can enact more quickly and easily while respecting your budget. Often, reaching out to expert handymen can do wonders in accomplishing these odd jobs. Let’s dive right in.

Improve Lighting

Moving around in poorly lit areas of the home can instantly become a safety hazard. Tripping and falling is the most common way that seniors get injured, so having walkways and entrances well lit is important. You can place sensor lighting to activate by motion on the exterior. Also, consider placing night lights around areas that need to be illuminated during the evenings.

clearing snow

Keep Entranceway Clear

For seniors or persons with disabilities living at home, it is imperative to be more cautious about keeping areas of the home tidy and clear. This goes for the walkways and entranceways outside. Clearing snow away and salting icy paths during winter should always be taken care of. Also, keeping shoes tidy and items off of the floor is another simple step for making it safer.

Adjust Handles and Locks

Often, the simple act of turning the doorknob and reaching the lock can be a challenge for seniors or those with physical disabilities. Consider installing pull handles instead of ones that requiring twisting, along with locks that can easily be reached. This will prove essential for emergency exits during a fire or other unwanted circumstances we don’t often like to think about, but it’s better to be prepared and ensure everyone can get out safely.

Major Accessibility Improvements

Now for more significant upgrades to your home. The best way to protect loved ones who are older or require special care is to make larger changes that make a more sizeable difference. After all, a well-lit porch is no use to anyone if they can’t safely get up those stone steps during a February ice storm. Consider these major accessibility improvements to help keep getting in and out of your home streamlined, safe and hassle-free all times of the year.

Widening Doorways

Sometimes, the doorways at home simply aren’t wide enough to easily move around. And in older homes, narrow doorway designs are often very common.  If this is the case, then widening the door can be necessary to relieve that problem.

wheelchair ramp

Installing Ramps

If a mobile chair or wheelchair is a necessity then a ramp can be installed to assist in bypassing stairs to exit and enter more easily. Be sure to turn to an experienced ramp installer familiar with the use of appropriate materials, construction and inspection procedures. That way, the ramp will not only last longer but be much safer for everyday use no matter the season.

Redoing the Walkway

If there are old patio stones that are weathered, cracked and loose that are leading up towards the door, these could pose serious potential tripping hazards – especially once the winter weather rolls around. Having this updated and replaced should also be considered if it’s in rough shape. Better to be safe than sorry, and there’s no such thing as being too proactive when it comes to exterior walkway use.

Whether it’s minor adjustments or an entire home improvement undertaking, our handyman and renovation services at To-Do Done can handle it all! If you need a hand in optimizing your home’s design for streamlined, safer accessibility, you can count on us. Contact us today to get started.