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After a Stroke: Making Your Home Accessible for a Wheelchair User

Posted by on 7.11.17 in Safety

After a Stroke: Making Your Home Accessible for a Wheelchair User

  • Ideally, the approach to the house should be fairly level, with only one or two steps.
  • If a ramp is needed, it should be built on a ratio of 12 inches of length for each 1 inch of height and should be at least 3 feet wide. A ramp should be built on a ratio of 12 inches of length for each 1 inch of height and should be at least 3 feet wide. Visit www.lowes.com for a large selection of steel folding ramps that can fit into a car trunk.
  • Check that the walkways leading to the house are smooth.
  • Look for deep cracks and broken areas in pavements and pathways. If necessary, have them repaired to prevent injuries. If possible, install gently sloping curb cuts.
  • If doorbells, mailboxes, and peepholes are higher than can be easily reached from chair height, have them lowered.
  • A flashing light can be attached to the doorbell to alert someone with a hearing disability to the presence of a person at the door.

Visit www.strokeknowhow.org for more information about accessibility, safety, resources

for services and products recommended by stroke survivors and their families.

Doors, Thresholds, and Hallways

  • Doors need to be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
  • Door openings should be at least 32 inches clear or more to provide enough room for a person in a wheelchair to clear the entrance without harm to the arms.
  • If the width is 29 inches, arms must be kept inside the chair while someone assists in pushing the chair through.
  • A device is available for some non-motorized wheelchairs to reduce the width of wheelchairs to allow enough clearance for narrow doors.
  • For added space, remove the molding or change the hinges. If the doors are not wide enough, the molding should be removed and the hinges changed so that the door can be opened fully without interfering with the entranceway.

Thresholds can cause accidents:

  • Thresholds higher than one-half-inch are barriers for
wheelchair users and someone using a cane. Most 
thresholds can be entirely removed or beveled.
  • A
 wedge-shaped piece of wood can be attached to the threshold, nailed down securely, and then covered with a rubber mat to make the threshold easier to cross.

Florence Weiner is the award-winning author of ten books about disabilities. The goal of her new e-Book: Stroke Know-How, and organization: strokeknowhow.org, is to provide solutions – from 100 men and women who had a stroke – for reclaiming life after a stroke for survivors and their families.

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