Monday, March 4, 2013

Possible Options for Making A Safer Home: Part 2

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM A BOOK OFFERED BY 'AARP' (AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PERSONS) - "THE DO-ABLE RENEWABLE HOME". IF YOU WANT TO MAKE ANY OF THE CHANGES FOR SOMEONE, I WANT TO SUGGEST THAT YOU CONTACT YOUR LOCAL BUILDING INSPECTOR OR A GOOD CONTRACTOR TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE FOLLOWING THE BUILDING CODES. WE HAD A CONTRACTOR DO THE CHANGES FOR MY MOTHER AT HER PLACE SO WE COULD BE AT PEACE WHEN WE DECIDE TO SELL IT, ALL WOULD BE FINE. I AM STARTING FROM WHERE I LEFT OFF IN THE SAME TITLED POST - PART 1. AGAIN -- I WILL NOT GIVE DIMENSIONS, JUST IN CASE MEASUREMENTS CHANGE WITH CODES. (pictures from searches on MSN.com)

If you have an elderly parent or someone using a walker or a wheelchair, you may need to adjust the door frame size. The book states you should have easy access through at least 1 entry door, though preferably 2 for fire exits, and all doors along the accessible routes between kitchen, bedrooms, dining room, bathroom and any other rooms that are used on a daily basis.

Four main reasons people have a problem using doors:
*width -- too narrow for wheelchair and/or walker;
*landing -- floor space on either side of the door is too small for someone using a wheelchair or walker to be on & open the door;
*hardware -- a latch or lock is too hard to reach and operate, or hard to operate based on the limited dexterity of person's fingers;
*weight -- door or door closer/spring too strong to easily open.

**When it comes to the width of a door frame - you can of course open the width of the frame/cut out a whole new frame. There are 'swing clear hinges' which will enlarge the opening by 1 1/2" to 1 3/4". You can remove the 'door stops' (creates a stop for swinging doors) and then re-install them about 3" above the floor. This adds about 3/4" to the opening. Remove the entire door by taking out the pins from the hinges. If you think you will not re-install another door, you can then fill the holes putty or spackle and repaint/refinish.
**With landings, you may have to relocate walls or partitions, or just remove the door, or install an electronic door opener.
**Hardware: choices are latches, locks, thresholds, kickplates, vision panels, automatic door openers.
Use a latch that requires no fine gripping or strong twisting like a lever arm.
Locks: to see whether your locks can be used by an elderly parent, you can of course ask them to try or, if your the person is arthritic, you can use your closed fist to see if you can open it. Best replacement might be a level style lock,either changing the one you have or adding on an extension to the knob. Magnetic cards might work or remote control locks. Thresholds can be a hazard if there is about 1/2" change in height; so either remove them or make a ramp. Kickplates can reduce wear & tear on a door and should be thin so will not reduce the opening. A vision panel (glass panel in a door) can be used on a door that normally might stay closed. The glass panel will allow people to see on the other side if anyone is coming & reduce the possibility of someone getting knocked over by the door opening. If you want some type of automatic door opener, you can do your own by using a system of weights & pulleys or install one that uses a remote button and sensor.

There is more to come. Hope this starts people looking around at their parent's home and thinking.

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