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Making the Garage Steps Accessible

solutions to make garage stairs accessible at home

One common way to make a home accessible for those with disabilities or limited mobility is by overcoming the steps at the garage entrance. Steps are an accessibility barrier that are typically made of concrete or wood, and railings are not always installed. The construction of the stairs may also be low-quality in some cases, which can pose injury risks from slips and falls. Here are the top 5 solutions to help make a home’s garage safe and accessible.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

5 Common Accessibility "Fails"

Side side wrong ramp slope and right ramp slope

Our home accessibility experts are invited into our client’s homes and into our local communities to evaluate for home accessibility solutions, such as stair lifts or wheelchair ramps or lifts. During our evaluations, we often encounter modifications that were done by another company or DIYs that do not meet ADA requirements, or are unsafe.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Mobility & Accessibility Solutions for In-Home Cancer Patients

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People diagnosed with cancer often require additional safety precautions to ensure that any health-related problems do not occur. Day-to-day activities that can be taken for granted will become harder. Simple things like cooking, cleaning, and even walking up the stairs may become strenuous, and even dangerous.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

5 Fall Prevention & Home Safety Tips for Older Adults

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As we age, our home may not be as easy to navigate as it once was. Getting up and down a set of stairs may be a chore because of decline in mobility. The risk of slipping and falling in the bathroom is likely much higher, especially if there are no grab bars in the bathtub/shower, or near the toilet. An option for older adults who are having a difficult time getting around at home is a senior living facility. However, these types of facilities do not offer the familiarity and comfort that a home does. A home is full of memories from parties and gatherings with family and lifelong friends. It is the place where a majority of older prefer to stay as they age. 

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Zero Step Entry Universal Design - 7 Tips to Make Your Ramp Fantastic

aluminum wheelchair ramp with stairs option

Zero step entry or wheelchair ramps can make your home or building accessible and be a beautiful addition. However, there are many common mistakes and costly errors that you can prevent by continuing to read this resource.  Universal Design states that the entrance should work for everyone, however what modifications are needed to include everyone.  Here are the top 7 tips: 1. Who are the Users? Are They Using Any Assistive Devices to Enter the House?  The difference between a wheelchair, scooter, walker, stroller, rolling luggage is subtle. They all have wheels, but the mobility needs of the user can widely vary. While ADA suggests a maximum slope of 1 inch of rise for every foot of ramp, this is the steepest recommended and would not be suitable for someone using a walker with limited strength. The ADA specifically states, “The least possible slope shall be used for any wheelchair ramp.” Most people automatically focus on standards like this and seek to meet the minimum standard. But, users may need a wheelchair ramp to exceed the standards and be easier to go up or down. Surprisingly, more falls happen on the way down the ramp, because momentum and gravity are stronger forces. And because of the increased speed of a fall, there is more force for an injury. Know your users, and exceed their need for your best ramp design. This is why Lifeway Mobility's experts always take the time to understand the needs of the customer any others living at the home before taking measurements and recommending a ramp layout. 2. Make the Pathway Fit the House In every design, we start with the door usually in the garage or in the front of the house, and end with where the user wants to enter the ramp. This is usually where we get out of a vehicle/transportation, like a driveway, garage, parking lot.  The best tip to make your ramp fit the house is to identify where the ramp should start and stop that has the least amount of vertical height difference. Also, you need to look at the house and design along the house vs. out away from the house. This will gain you a visual benefit, ramps looks better if they blend into the structure of the building, but also a design benefit.  Wheelchair ramps are easier to use when they follow the design of the home.  However, watch for the home with short walls and multiple corners. Because a ramp should have a 5 foot level platform at the top of the ramp and every time you turn, a ramp will get longer with more turns and should be designed to be a straight as possible and fit the home. Also, you want to use a type of ramp and materials to fit the home, as you will compliment the look of your ramp instead of stand out. 3. What Type of Wheelchair Ramp Is Needed?  Is the Need Temporary, Portable or Permanent?  There are 3 major types of wheelchair ramps and ramp materials: Aluminum Concrete Wood They each have their advantages, but you first must know how long the ramp is needed. We have seen a wood ramp only used for a year because the owner moved homes and unfortunately, the wood ramp was worthless for the new home. Aluminum wheelchair ramps have several advantages because there are portable options, as well as modular ones that can be customized and even reconfigured to be moved or reused, and it doesn’t require any maintenance like concrete/brick and wood. Wood also requires much more maintenance than concrete.       4. What is the Best Surface for Your Ramp?  The biggest mistake that we see here is to focus on what it look like vs a surface that prevents slips and falls with a good grip. While trex or composite wood is more attractive and offers less maintenance, it can be the most slippery surface, especially if you run your board down the ramp like a bowling alley. Concrete gives a good surface and grip, but ice and snow can build up and be dangerous.  Again, the aluminum ramps can excel here as they offer either a black friction surface like sand paper, or a extruded edges every quarter inch that looks like grooves in the surface. This will be a much better surface in rain and snow. We cannot forget that the ramp should look beautiful and blend into the home, so many of the aluminum ramps now come in colors for the discerning home owner.   5. Little Things Matter  The Threshold of your ramp at the bottom is crucial for ease of use and safety.  Also, where the ramp meets the threshold of the door into the house is just as important. The two pictures below show 1-2 inch bumps as you enter and exit the ramps in these two areas. These can be avoided by working with a home accessibility expert.   A 3/4 in bump is all the is need to bring a walker or wheelchair to a complete stop, like slamming on your brakes in your vehicle. The difference is that when you slam on your brakes, you know you will violently stop. Using a ramp and hitting a small bump can cause you to fall down or out of your chair, you can hit the door frame as you enter or exit the house, or possible you cannot get over the bump and cannot use the ramp at all. The WORST possibility is that you have to ask for help and lose the independence that a ramps is SUPPOSED to PROVIDE.   6. Type of Handrails The Handrail of a ramp is the most intimate part of the ramp because it is what you touch or glide your hand along. A safe smooth surface for your hand is just as important for your feet or mobility device. ADA requires a smooth, uninterrupted handrail that you can wrap your fingers around 7. Maintenance When choosing a wheelchair ramp for your home, it's importance to consider maintenance and how that might impact the long-term cost of the ramp.  Unfortunately, the least expensive ramps are wood and many people choose plywood, but it will deteriorate within 2-3 years. Wood wheelchair ramps require the most maintenance because sun, rain, snow, heat, and cold all cause the wood to expand and contract. Staining or painting is required every 2-3 years.    Concrete or brick ramps require sealing to avoid cracking, and because they are so heavy, they can sink or shift, causing the ramp to be unusable.  Steel Handrails may require painting. This can add 10-25% of costs to the price of a ramp if you include the needed future maintenance.  Aluminum wheelchair ramps may be a bit more expensive up front, but no maintenance is required, making it the most cost-advantageous of the three material types over the long haul. Contact us to learn more about universal design when it comes to wheelchair ramps, or to schedule your FREE ramp consultation!

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Wheelchair Ramp Options

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A basic modular wheelchair ramp system typically consists of a platform(s), ramping and graspable rails. However, depending on the mobility needs of the person in need of the wheelchair ramp, and home setting, there may be upgrade options that need to be considered to ensure easy access for everyone.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Lifeway Mobility Opens New Location in San Diego, CA

Lifeway consultant sitting with customers at table in home in San Diego CA

San Diego, CA– Lifeway Mobility, a team of trusted home access professionals, is pleased to announce it is expanding its coverage area in southern CA into San Diego. Lifeway will now offer stair lifts, wheelchair ramps, and a variety of basic transfer aid solutions to those living in San Diego County.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Lifeway Mobility Acquires Kansas City based Health & Comfort Equipment

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Kansas City, MO - Lifeway Mobility (“Lifeway”) is pleased to announce it has acquired Health & Comfort Equipment Service, LLC in Kansas City, MO.  Health & Comfort has over 30 years of experience in the home accessibility industry in the KC Metro Area and greater Topeka, KS, providing stair lifts, wheelchair ramps, and other accessibility solutions. This new partnership allows Lifeway Mobility to further expand its service offerings throughout Kansas and provide services in the state of Missouri.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Tax Deductions for Accessible Home Modifications

tax deductions for accessible home modifications preview image

Whether you have recently become disabled or have been living with a disability your whole life, you have likely needed to make modifications to your home to support an independent lifestyle. Home modifications can make parts of your home more accessible.

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by Gamburd   | 

Home Access CEU Webinar

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Virtual CEU* Event: Modifications for Home AccessibilityDate & Time: TBD This webinar will cover the basics of modifications for home accessibility and answer questions including:

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by Amy Finke  | 

Accessibility Solutions for Veterans

photo for veterans day post on accessibility solutions  1

If you are a veteran, we would first like to say thank you for your service. You put your life on the line to protect our freedom and keep us safe in our home country.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Home Access CEU Webinar Nov 17th 2021

SL  Ramp  Pole 454x255

Virtual CEU* Event: Modifications for Home AccessibilityWednesday Nov 17, 2021 1:00 pm Eastern Time / 10 am Pacific Time This webinar will cover the basics of modifications for home accessibility and answer questions including:

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by Amy Finke  | 

Lifeway Mobility Featured on HouseSmarts via WGN Radio Chicago 720

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Lifeway Mobility was proudly featured on HouseSmarts Radio with Lou Manfredini via WGN Radio Chicago 720! HouseSmarts is a well-known home improvement and lifestyle show that provides homeowners with tips on home renovation and repairs.   Lou and his team were interested in speaking to an expert about aging-in-place and making homes more accessible, and selected Lifeway Mobility as the guest to interview.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Gardening from a Wheelchair - An Enabled Garden

gardening from a wheelchair

You don't need to use your legs to develop a green thumb. With a few accommodations and modifications, you can do anything on four wheels that others do on two feet. This includes gardening, a therapeutic and stress-relieving hobby. With a few design changes, gardening from a wheelchair can be a fruitful endeavor.

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by Clarence Luna  | 

Long-Term Care Planning: What You Should Know

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For most, long-term care planning is not something that is on their radar.  However, for older adults making a long-term care plan is something that should be done sooner than later.  A first step is learning more about what long-term care is and about the variety of services that are available.

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by John Burfield  | 

Aluminum vs. Wood Wheelchair Ramps

aluminum wheelchair ramp installed by Lifeway in Stratford Connecticut  1

When evaluating your home for wheelchair access via a ramp, there are many factors to consider, such as the location for installation and type of material. There are many types of ramps available and for each individual's needs and situation, the best solution is going to vary. In this post, we'll compare aluminum and wood ramps and briefly review the best locations for the installation of a ramp.

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by Bob Conroy  | 

Get Outside With These Outdoor Home Accessibility Tips

paved pathways

After a long winter, the weather is finally warming up – and there’s no place most of us would rather be than outdoors. Whether you define it as the chirping of birds or the smell of wildflowers, spring is definitely in the air. It’s a beautiful season – and we think it should be accessible to everyone.

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by John Burfield  | 

Traveling Safely with Limited Mobility

Woman Wheelchair Airline Attendant2

When you are in a wheelchair or have limited mobility, travel can be a challenge. Everything from getting to your airport gate and into your seat to finding hotel rooms and tourist destinations with ADA accessibility can add an extra layer of concern to your travel plans. The good news is, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 25.5 million Americans have disabilities or mobility issues that affect their ability to travel and 21.9 million still get out of the house for vacations. Here is some helpful information for those who have mobility issues and plan to travel.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

School Accessible Solutions for Persons with a Physical Disability

little boy in vertical platform lift in hoistway in school

If you have worked in or been to an elementary, middle, high school, or even a university lately, you may have noticed that there are many diverse situations that need to be accommodated for: wheelchairs, walkers, space for physical and occupational therapy, barrier-free playground equipment, etc. Many schools throughout the country are older and were not built with these accommodations in mind, and despite the Americans with Disabilities Act, some schools are not as compliant as they could be. So, if you are an administrator looking to adapt your school’s environment for students with disabilities or a parent wanting more access, read on for more tips on accessibility!

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by Paul Bergantino  | 

Powder Coated Aluminum Ramps: Style and Performance

wolflake access ramps

Aluminum modular ramps have several advantages over wood ramps including low maintenance, quick installation, superior traction, and resale value. Despite these advantages, some people prefer the look of a wooden ramp over aluminum. This is understandable considering many people spend years perfecting their exterior decorating and take pride in the way their home looks.

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by John Burfield  | 

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