A DISABLED-FRIENDLY HOME
was contributed by a gentleman who wishes to remain anonymous. He
is a bi-lat AK and an amazing human being.
had the fortunate (later to be unfortunate) experience of building
a home to accommodate me………now and in the future.
Prior, we owned a two story home that was deemed “unacceptable”
for a person like me by the insurance company. So we sold it and
built a bungalow home. The insurance company was responsible only
for those items recommended by some “expert”………….the
rest I paid for at today’s prices.
in and out of the house
Because I was then
a wheelchair user and someday, I guess, I will be again, I needed
ramping and lifts to get in and out of the house. Since we were
investing our dollars in the home, we rapidly decided that we did
not want to create a “disabled looking home”. By that,
I mean a home that did not have a big wooden thing hanging out the
front for all eternity. My ramps were integrated into the over all
landscape design and are decidedly permanent in nature.
In my opinion, the
installation of ramping needs to be either temporary and removable,
or permanent. I say this because in no time, a functioning leg amputee
will no longer use the ramp ‘cause he / she is using their
leg or………..the leg amputee has given up and will
use a ramp for all eternity. Today I never use any of these ramps
and cannot foresee that I ever will. However……once again………the
“expert” recommended them.
In the garage area,
I have an installed mechanical lift for a wheel chair. I also now
have a set of hand rails on the stairs of this area. Today, I never
use the lift. I always use the stairs. The lift now stands useless
until the day I may need it. Once again, I cannot foresee it being
used but………….the “expert” recommended
All doorways to
the house are 36” wide doors to allow any sized wheelchair
in. Additionally, they are all “low thresh hold” doors
that, again the “expert” recommended. I would never
recommend this type of door to any one. Sure there is no wee bump
to drive over but they play hell on any door mat.
At my cottage, we
built a “permanent” wooden ramp to spec. It cost me
a couple of thousand dollars for material. I used it once. Last
week we tore it off.
I am most proud
of our bathroom. It was self designed with hints from the experts.
It does not look like a “cripple lives here” bathroom.
There was no way
in hell I was ever going to accept a wonky looking toilet……………no
raised seat………….no commode look……………no
grab bars………..nothing!!! I was not to be the only
user of this thing.
This was the first
thing in life that made me realize that “the world does not
conform to me, I MUST CONFORM TO THE WORLD”. It is a reality
I live by today.
Like any new construction,
there is a shower stall. The “experts” recommended grab
bars (not installed), a shower wheel chair (still in the basement
with the original wrapping) a low thresh hold base for entry (installed
but not needed), a temperature controlled thingy so I don’t
burn my ass (not necessary but installed), a movable shower head
that slides up and down (I don’t use this as such, I remove
the head ‘cause I shower on my ass while using it to wash
the dogs!!!!), an interior light so I could see (not necessary ‘cause
I have eyes).
Well this was a
lovely item. Seems the “experts” recommended:
mirror goes all the way down to meet the countertop ‘cause
shorty here, needs to see what he is shaving
middle area be left open to accommodate a wheel chair user’s
legs (the fact I don’t have any seems to have slipped his
counter height be set a bit lower than normal.
thing we had done differently is the addition of an extra course
of tiling to the presenting edge. This acts as a platform for me
to sit on before getting in the tub as well as a place to land on
when I get out. MOST RECOMMENDED (our idea…….not the
The insurance company
bought an automatic bath tub lift for me (“expert” recommended).
You know the kind that you sit on………..it lowers
you into the tub………..when finished you push a
button and it raises you out of the water. I said thank you. After
they left I told the wife “pack that thing up - please!!!!
I’ll figure a way on my own”. It rests in the basement
with the other crap they gave me!!!
I think it is important
to listen to the “experts” ……………….to
consider what they say……….to think about it and
the expense………and not take them at face value!!
are wide. Mine are 36”. This allows access via chair to all
switches in my home are installed at “wheel chair height”.
This was done before I realized it. It does make the home a bit
weird but after I got used to them…..they are a blessing even
when I am on my ass.
should be large enough for a wheel chair user to get around in without
taking out a wall while the user is turning.
should be “front loading”. Whether I am in a chair or
on my ass, I am still capable of doing laundry (damn it). I just
suck at putting things away.
are pretty sure about living a long time, and dying in your home,
refrain from having kitchen counters set at a low level or lowering
your upper cabinets. Wacko looking kitchens just do not do well
on the market. Just DEAL WITH IT.
should be of a smooth hard surface such as hard wood or laminates.
This is best for wheel chairs as they are easier to roll on, clean
the crap from the wheels and are best for mutants like myself who
“slep” around on their ass.
oven with front controls for the elements is best. This eliminates
the need to reach over hot burners to turn them off by a chair user.
any grab bars installed are actually hitting wood during installation.
Living in this
city, we were subject to a lot of “Code”. We soon learned
that code has control over a disabled person. It is the law that
we had to have two manual escape routes in place ‘cause I
am “disabled”. As such, we designed the back yard to
accommodate this without ending up with a disabled looking back
yard escape route.
ramp replaces an ugly wood one. All areas are available to me in
ass mode, begger’s board or chair. The result is very good.
•It is a part
of the world that I can be at ease with myself without the stress
imposed by others.
When building a
disabled home you have to think about today, how you will be tomorrow
and how you will be when you are much older. For me, I know what
my future will be:
•I will walk
until I cannot