Here’s A Checklist To Help You Decide On What Modifications Are Needed In Your Home.
Use this list to identify home safety, fall hazards and accessibility issues for all family members.
Exterior, Entrances and Exit Conditions of Walk and Driveway Surfaces
“Visitability” allows homeowners and visitors entering the home to gain access and to maneuver easily.
As people age, the vision changes gradually, and their eyes often require almost three times as much light as younger eyes. Adjustable lighting at entrances is important to maintain security and to help reduce injury from tripping. Installing focus light fixtures on the lockset, house numbers and steps can reduce the risk of falling.
An automatic door bottom black weather-stripping device installed along the bottom of the door creates a xero threshold by sealing the bottom of the door. This weather will help prevent the moisture and dust from entering.
- Are the house numbers visible at night and from the street?
- Can they see and use doorknobs and keys?
- Is the exterior entrance and exit doors threshold height higher than 6 inches? This could be a challenge for someone with a walker or in a wheelchair.
- Are handrails or ramps needed?
- Is there a removable ramp for easier entrances and exits.?
- Remote access maintains a secure home and permits easy entry when desired. Does the security and electric door locks allow remote lock operation for individuals with mobility problems?
- Does the porch cover for the inclement weather offer protection from snow and ice accumulation?
- In what conditions are the sidewalks, walkways, driveway surfaces, porches, front door, entry doors and access to the garage from inside the home?
Interior Doors, Stairs, Hallway and Foyers
The width, ambulatory accommodations and flooring of these spaces are critical to achieving easy and convenient circulation inside your home.
The best way to achieve this is to have an open plan design that has spaces flow from one to another. If hallways cannot be avoided, make sure they are at least 42 inches wide.
- Is your hallway wheelchair accessibility?
- Will the homeowner using a walker avoid bumping into walls?
- Will the homeowner carrying a suitcase in each hand will be able to carry them more easily?
- Will two people pass in a hallway more easily?
- Are the floors level at each doorway and entrance way threshold?
- Is the hallway wide enough and free of clutter to maneuver safely?
A “package” shelf, table and bench located near an entrance door provides a place to put packages and other times while unlocking and opening the door. The shelf may be built in place or it may be a furniture piece placed on either or both sides of the door. This is a convenience for everyone and especially helpful for people who must use both hands to manipulate the lock and open the door.
Bathroom, Shower/Bathing Area
Bathroom, Shower/Bathing Area
Before installing the toilet, shower and vanity ensure the homeowner has access with safety, comfort and ease of mind.
Can the homeowner reach the sink basins, tub faucets and shower controls?
Is the homeowner able to access the bathroom, shower/bating area with a wheelchair or walker?
Can the homeowner access the toilet height?
Can the homeowner flush, stand and sit easily?
Can the homeowner reach toilet paper?
Are grab bars or a tub/shower seat needed for safety, comfort and ease?
Things to consider for the shower and bathing area:
Is the floor space clear?
Can the homeowner access to controls?
Is the shower entryway accessible?Is there a place to sit with support?
Is the area safe for the homeowner to transfer?
Is the heat and ventilation suitable for the homeowner?
Is there proper lighting for the homeowner to maneuver easily?
Is there convenient storage for the homeowner?
Would the homeowner be benefit from a curbless shower, no threshold (wet room)?
Health and Wellness
Ensure that storage is easily accessed, it is also important to consider the weight of stored items, enabling storage for heavier or bulkier times within reach that involves minimum bending or lifting
Ensure the surface area for prep and cooking is safe, varied height for wheelchair access as well for sitting or standing.
Preparation work area includes the sink, preparation surface, related storage, refrigerator, and sometimes additional appliances.
Consider the side of the dominant hand for locating the dishwasher or lateral workspace next to the sink or stovetop.
Good cooking design practice includes side, front, or remote controls so that you do not need to reach over hot burners or pots to adjust cooking temperatures.
Good lighting, task lighting and lighter colours on the work surface, and antimicrobial finishes can make the work performed at this station easier. In addition, this is where the dishwasher is planned and recycling, composting, and waste are usually managed.
Consider air, water, sound and light for creating a healthier kitchen for those with extreme allergies.
Living, Dining and Bedrooms
Living, dining and bedrooms are primarily areas entertainment, family celebrations and for rest, sleep, intimacy and dressing.
Well planning considering physical conditions, priorities and wish list.
Placement of furniture enhances or compromises the space, creating tight passage areas or placing controls out of reach.
Maneuvering in a wheelchair or walker is a good guide in planning space. The best process for planning this space should include placement of the furnishings to be used, to ensure needed clearances, safety and comfortableness.
The same basic principles for adequate space, work surfaces, storage, reach ranges and simplicity of operation that apple to other high function parts of the home apply to the laundry area.
A key function area, reachable and located on an accessible level. Consider proper space for maneuvering in a wheelchair or walker for sorting, loading, and transferring laundry between machines and folding, and ironing.
Telephone and Doors
Are phone jacks near the bed, sofa and chair?
Are you able to get to the phone, dial and hear caller?
Are you able to identify visitors and hear the doorbell?
Is there a need for a wireless phone or answering machine?
Can you easily turn all doorknobs in your home?
Ensure there is easy access to a home phone or cell phone for a call for help. Egress is also an important consideration for an emergency exit.
Adjustable closet rods and shelves
Lighting in closets
Easy open doors that do not obstruct access
- Plenty of windows for natural light
- Lowered windows or taller windows with lower sill height
- Low maintenance exterior and interior finishes
- Easy to operate hardware
Electrical, Lighting, Safety, and Security
- Light switches by each entrance to halls and rooms
- Light receptacles with at least two bulbs in vital places (exits, bathroom)
- Light switches, thermostats, and other environmental controls placed in accessible locations no higher than 48 inches from floor
- Electrical outlets 15-inches on center from floor; may need to be closer than 12-feet apart
- Clear access space of 30-inches by 48-inches in front of switches and controls
- Rocker or touch light switches
- Audible and visual strobe light system to indicate when the doorbell, telephone or smoke or CO2 detectors have been activated
- High-tech security/intercom system that can be monitored, with the heating, air conditioning and lighting, from any TV in the house
- Easy-to-see and read thermostats
- Pre-programmed thermostats
- Flashing porch light or 911 switch
- Direct wired to police, fire and EMS (as option)
- Home wired for security
- Home wired for computers
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
- HVAC should be designed so filters are easily accessible
- Energy-efficient units
- Windows that can be opened for cross ventilation, fresh air
- In-line framing with two by six studs spaced 24-inches on center
- Air-barrier installation and sealing of duct work with mastic
- Reduced-size air conditioning units with gas furnaces
- Mechanical fresh air ventilation, installation of air returns in all bedrooms and use of carbon monoxide detectors
- Installation of energy efficient windows with Low-E glass
Creating and Utilizing Your Space
- Separate apartment for rental income or future caregiver
- Flex room that can used as a nursery or playroom when the children are young and as a home office later; if combined with a full bath, room could also be used for an aging parent/aging in place