Accessibility becomes more of an issue as we age—and it’s a downright problem when the doors in our homes just don’t make it easy for seniors to get in an out.
Remodeling doors can be an expensive proposition. There are, however, easy and inexpensive ways to enhance home accessibility for seniors. Here are some tips.
Change the Direction of the Door Opening
While this might not be possible for your main entry, it’s simple and very effective for inner doors—such as the bathroom door. And this makes it easier for adults using a wheelchair or walker to be more self-sufficient with this personal matter.
This fix is so easy that just about anybody can do it. Simply re-hang the door so that it swings outward, rather than opening into the bathroom. There’s an added benefit besides easier entry and exit. You’ll gain more space in your bathroom.
Uneven thresholds are a common cause for tripping for seniors. The height difference also can make it difficult to maneuver a wheelchair through the doorway. Remodeling a threshold can be costly—especially those for exterior doors.
It’s much easier and less expensive to buy a threshold ramp. They’re usually made of rubber, so they’ll stand up to weather. Inside, the rubber tends to grip the floor better. Most of these thresholds are made to be portable, so you can take them along with you when visiting friends or family. You’ll invest anywhere from $50 to $70 for this easy fix.
Replace Standard Door Hinges with Offset Hinges
This option is especially helpful for aiding seniors who are wheelchair bound. Often the width of a wheelchair makes it a tight squeeze to get through. A trip to your local hardware store can reward you with a cost-effective solution.
Sometimes they’re called expandable or swing clear door hinges, but you should be able to find them if you look for offset door hinges. They allow the door to swing completely clear of the frame—and this can add up to 2 inches of additional width.
Expect to pay around $25 for a pair of these offset door hinges. They’re relatively easy to install, as they simply take the place of the existing hinges. That’s a fraction of the cost to hire a carpenter to expand the doorway, which also means you’ll need to replace the door itself.
Getting through doors shouldn’t be a challenge. Use one of these inexpensive solutions to make it easy for even seniors in wheelchairs to move freely throughout the house.