While it’s true that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t technically apply to private homes, the standards it sets for public places can also help make your home safer for seniors and people with disabilities.
Learn more in this short course, excerpted from a certificate-granting course for professionals.
Some of the major provisions include:
- Doorways should be at least 32 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair.
- Areas around doorways should be clear by at least 36 inches.
- An accessible ramp should be available. (Details here).
- Doorknobs should be replaced with levers to make them easier to grasp.
- Stairways should have metal handrails on both sides securely mounted to the studs.
Besides being the most dangerous room in the house, the bathroom may also be the smallest, which can make it difficult to work with. ADA provisions include:
- The bathroom should have at least 30 inches by 48 inches of clear floor space.
- Faucets (and other valves and knobs) must be usable with only one hand with a force of 5 lbs. of pressure or less.
- The toilet seat must be no taller than 19 inches above the floor (with additional accommodation accounted for with portable toilet seats). 4Grab bars should be positioned for easy access in the shower and near the toilet. They should be firmly anchored in studs, not attached with adhesives.
- In the tub or shower, the showerhead should be adjustable and should have antiscald valves to avoid burns from hot water. Maximum temperature should be set no higher than 120 F.
The kitchen presents its own set of challenges, including:
- The sink and countertops should be no taller than 30 inches.
- Cabinet knobs should be replaced with pulls to make them easier to use for those with arthritis and weakening muscles.
- Appliances should have the controls mounted on the front for easy use and less reaching. Drawer-style appliances may be best.
- For best wheelchair access, removing floor cabinets and placing plumbing pipes against the wall will make it easier to use the sink.
This checklist if an excerpt from a Consumer Education Council online course about home safety for seniors. Contact us for more information about making this course available to your organization.