How to Make Your Front Door Accessible
So you’ve gotten out safely from the car in the driveway and travelled smoothly along the walkway and up to the entrance of the home.
So here is the big question…
How are you going to get into the home?
Obviously, it all depends on what the entrance looks like.
Now we are going to go through the ideal characteristics of the entrance door and for those of us who are dealing with an existing entrance that we would like to modify, we will go through various suggestions for how to make your entrance safe and accessible for you.
Key Accessibility Features
First and foremost is that steps (even just 1!) may present as an issue.
So if you’re telling yourself that eliminating your steps without redoing your entire front entrance seems impossible; you’ve come to the right place to find a number of solutions to get into the home despite the steps.
Because there are a bunch of solutions and I would like to make all the info and suggestions as bite size as possible, we are going to go through everything over the next few posts instead of discussing everything in one long post so hold on tight and bear with us.
So to start, here goes….
The ideal home entrance would be a “zero step” entry, with a doorway width of minimum 32-inches wide, without a threshold, with a simple easy to use door handle at a height of 34 to 48 inches, the doorbell at a maximum height of 48 inches, with sufficient lighting, and possibly an entry shelf to place the items you’re holding (i.e. shopping bags, purse etc.) while maneuvering yourself inside.
Yes, I know that was a lot at once.
Let’s go through them one at a time and we will elaborate as we proceed.
Zero Step Entry
A “zero step” entry is exactly what it sounds like…a flat entranceway without any steps.
Now although that is the ideal, it is probably not the case for most of our homes.
If you have steps and everyone who needs to get into the home can navigate steps with ease, you would still want to keep a few things in mind to ensure the steps are safe.
- Secure – make sure the steps are not wobbly or loose and that there are no gaps or crevices
- Height/Depth – make sure that all steps have the same height and depth
- Handrails – always an added measure of security for everyone
- Skid-resistant – to prevent slipping
- Lighting – make sure there is adequate lighting for safe navigation
For more information of outdoor step safety, Foremost Insurance Group provides an excellent source of info.
For those of you who really prefer or need step elimination, keep on reading as we will now go through practical ideas for creating a “zero-step” entry.
Before getting into the equipment and solutions, I want to propose an alternative solution that does not naturally occur to most people.
Use an alternative entrance to the front door.
Who says that the front door must be the accessible entrance?
There are people who always use the garage/side door entrance on any given day anyways because they reserve the front door entranceway for special occasions only.
Now, most people still have some number of steps of rise to get into the home even from a different entrance; but it is possible that some of the other entrances have less steps or a lower rise than the front door.
This is also important to keep in mind for aesthetic purposes as well because many of the solutions, especially the less expensive ones, will require some form of equipment (i.e. ramp, lift etc) which can present as an eye sore to the front of the home.
So even before deciding how to eliminate the need to go up steps, we need to first determine which entrance we’re talking about.
Then, once you have decided which entrance makes the most sense we have to figure out how to get to get up to the door.
For most people, the first idea that comes to mind is a ramp; which is probably the most common solution.
But, from a specialist’s perspective, ramps are not really always the best option.
We are going to stop here for now and save ramps for its own discussion (it sure deserves its own space as it is a biggy out there). So keep following along and check out our posts about RAMPS for more details!
That’s that for How to Make Your Front Door Acccessible.
Contact us with comments or questions.
We’ll keep you POSTED!
To safe and happy homes,
Golda, a licensed Occupational Therapist and Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS professional) was inspired to specialize in an area which she felt would increase her clients’ quality of life beyond typical therapy treatment sessions. Golda embraces the idea of increasing clients’ abilities to reside in their homes barrier-free as providing a level of quality of life which cannot be matched. Follow along with Golda on her journey of creating a comprehensive resource center for home accessibility modifications here at adapttostay.com.