Outdoor Home Modifications to Help You Live Independently

Outdoor ramp near Chicago, IL
This is one example of incorporating an outdoor ramp into the landscaping.

Attentions turned to our homes in a matter of days when governments across the world ordered citizens to shelter in place. We only leave our home for the essentials: grocery shopping, running to the bank, or exercise. Anything else – meeting friends for dinner, seeing a show, or vacationing – became a mere memory. With the change of pace, we’ve begun to refocus on multiple aspects of life, including our homes. 

The majority of hours in the day are now spent in a makeshift office located in the kitchen, (or if you’re part of the lucky bunch) a spare bedroom, or den. Staring at the same walls, day after day, you begin to consider how you might make your situation better. 

And maybe it’s not just you. Maybe you’re bringing a family member home from senior living, the hospital or a rehabilitation center to weather the COVID-19 pandemic with you, and you need to make adjustments so your home is safe for them. 

Whether you’re updating your home for a family member who is moving in or you’re realizing you need to make changes for your own good, home modifications are the solution. 

Select home modifications do require contractors to be inside your home; however, this isn’t the end to your project hopes if you’re uncomfortable with workers in your home during this time. There are outdoor accessibility solutions that can be done to help you or a loved one live independently and comfortably.

Outdoor Stair Lift

Stair Lifts

As we approach summer, the thought of officials lifting the shelter-in-place orders keeps driving us forward. For some, however, enjoying the outdoors may be difficult because of household barriers. Stairs pose a challenge for many homeowners who have mobility concerns. In cases where a ramp cannot be built, stair lifts are the answer. 

Outdoor stair lifts function exactly the same as indoor stair lifts. The difference is they are designed to withstand the elements. They are built with high quality, weather-resistant materials to keep them running safely, even in the harshest Chicago conditions. 

Straight stairlifts are perfect for decks with only a few stairs to many stairs. They attach directly to the stairs, not the wall or siding, so no need to worry about damaging the outside of your house. 

Independence is key to living a happy, active lifestyle. Having the ability to get outside with little assistance is priceless. 

Vertical Platform Lifts

If you navigate the world from a scooter or wheelchair, a stair lift may not be the best option for you. Instead, a chair lift (vertical platform lift) would serve your needs better. 

Because a ramp requires a certain amount of room to build, it may not physically fit into the space you have. That’s where chair lifts come in handy. They will fit on the edge of any deck or porch – in some cases, with the help of minor modifications. 

Chair lifts save a lot of space because they move up and down to the side of the staircase. Another perk is not having to get out of your chair to use it. Just roll onto the platform of the lift, shut the door, and press a button to reach the top or bottom of your deck. Simple and effective! 

Wheelchair Ramps

Stair lifts and chair lifts aren’t for everyone, though. In this case, a ramp is one of the best alternatives to taking the stairs. Design ideas for outdoor ramps are endless, especially if you plan to incorporate the ramp into your landscaping. 

We’ve designed and built countless ramps that blend seamlessly into the front yard, side flower beds, and front sidewalk. A little imagination will give you a beautiful new accent to your home while rendering your life independent. 

When considering a ramp for your home, how it will look is just as important as planning where to put it. Home for Life follows ADA ramp requirements. Under these conditions, a ramp must have a 1:12 slope. This means for every one inch of rise, you need one foot of ramp. 

Stairs typically have a seven-inch rise. Seven stairs at seven inches for every stair means you’ll need a 49-foot ramp. Although it doesn’t have to be a totally straight 49 feet, adequate space to build the width and have it wind are important points to keep in mind. 

Threshold Ramps

Threshold ramps are miniature, portable ramps that sit along the threshold of a door. They are essential to effortlessly wheel or step over a doorway threshold. Under the American Disability Act (ADA), thresholds are not to come above ¾ of an inch. 

However, some homes are built with higher doorway thresholds. To combat this, or any other transition that may be difficult to wheel over, a threshold ramp is the most cost-efficient and safest solution. 

Grab Bar Installation

Ever thought about installing grab bars outside your home? Maybe not, but they can be a lifesaver for someone with balance concerns. Higher thresholds between a deck, porch or other landings are areas for increased fall risk. A grab bar provides the perfect handhold to give you extra stability while taking that step up into or step down out of the house. 

One of the best things about the grab bars we install is that they come in a variety of colors. If stainless steel doesn’t fit into your outdoor aesthetic, then you’ll want to pick something that blends well. White and ivory are popular because they are neutral and offer the warm-to-the-touch coating on the grab bar. 

Warm-to-the-touch grab bars are even more important during cold weather when you want to avoid touching freezing, exposed metal. If your house is blue, or any other color for that matter, you may want to choose the matching color to help it blend in. 

Also important to remember: their cousin – the handrail – should always be included on a set of steps. 

Enjoying the Outdoors Independently

After reading this post, you may decide it’s time to add one of these modifications to your home. It may be one grab bar at the entrance of your home, or a stair lift on the back porch, or a ramp snaking through your flower beds, or a combination of all of these. Whatever it is, make sure you are investing in yourself and your home. Living independently and comfortably in your own home is key to resurging from the shelter-in-place orders happier and healthier than before. 

About Us
about

Here at Home For Life Advantage, we pride ourselves on being the leading provider of ADA accessibility equipment in the Greater Chicago area. Serving people with disabilities and seniors desiring to remain independently living in their homes. We also supply and install accessibility equipment in commercial buildings.