ada door requirements

3 Tips To Improve Accessibility Based On ADA Door Requirements

ada door requirements

Approximately 53 million Americans live with a disability today, and according to a recent study, the most common disabilities are all associated with limited mobility. While many patients make alterations to major rooms of their homes to make mobility easier, it’s important to understand that doors and doorways themselves can also be modified to accommodate any type of mobility-related issue.

If you’re trying to make your home or business compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, here are just a few pieces of advice for understanding ADA door requirements and modifying the doors and entryways in your home or commercial building.

Ensure Leveled Entrance
Checking the level of the floor in between rooms is a crucial aspect of increasing mobility of common household doors and entryways. Many doors have a strip of wood on the bottom that serves as part of the door’s frames and separates the rooms. However, it isn’t strictly necessary and can be easily removed to return the floor to its leveled state. Similarly, if there is a discrepancy in the level of the inside and outside flooring, it’s simple to add a piece of scrap wood to the lower leveled side to ensure a flat surface all throughout.

Widen Doorways Themselves
This may not be a feasible option for all financial or architectural situations, but it’s worth considering for those who do have the investment. Traditional door frames tend to be about 32 inches wide. However, most wheelchair designs require a high level of precision and accuracy to properly navigate through that tight of a space. That’s because many modern wheelchairs have a wider design that needs a full 36 inches of space in order to move through doorways comfortably and safely.

Similarly, depending on your living situation, it may be easier and more logical to simply remove certain doors completely. Make sure to consider even small modifications, such as ADA door opener requirements, which can improve access and mobility in many ways.

Don’t Forget The Doorknobs
Finally, it’s important to remember to adjust the type of doorknobs in accordance with your mobility needs. Traditional doorknobs do require a certain level of dexterity to operate with ease. If you have wrist-related mobility issues, arthritis, or certain types of paralysis, door handles can be a major barrier. When trying to improve mobility and access in your home or commercial building, consider installing door handles designed for maximum ease of use.

If you’re trying to meet ADA door requirements or simply make your home more wheelchair friendly, then keep these accessibility standards in mind and be aware of even small changes you can make. This is a great way to invest in quality of life and overall wellbeing.

For more information about complying with ADA door requirements or to order wheelchair lifts for vehicles, door openers, and other mobility devices, contact Access NSM today.

wheelchair lifts

Guide To Understanding Types Of Wheelchair Vehicle Lifts

wheelchair lifts

According to the AARP and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 90% of people over the age of 65 want to live in their home as long as they can. While aging in place is extremely popular, it’s not always practical. That is, unless the right steps are taken to prepare a home for seniors with mobility challenges.

And while there are many assistive devices designed to aid mobility, wheelchair lifts are some of the most useful and versatile in helping people with limited mobility get where they need to go and live a comfortable life. For seniors living in large or two-story homes, these lifts are especially important for making aging in place possible.

However, for transportation purposes, wheelchair vehicle lifts are also incredibly beneficial to maintaining quality of life. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the various types of wheelchair lifts for vehicles available today.

Exterior Wheelchair Lifts for cars, trucks, vans and SUVs

Exterior Wheelchair Lift Example

Outdside or Exterior Vehicle Lifts
Outside wheelchair vehicle lifts are used to secure a wheelchair to a vehicle’s exterior. It’s usually attached using a trailer hitch receiver so that it can be safely and securely transported from location to location. Exterior wheelchair lifts for vans and other vehicles are growing in popularity because they can be used with vehicles of almost any size. They’re also beneficial because they don’t take up valuable space inside of the vehicle itself.

Finally, it’s important to know that these outside vehicle lifts can be moved from vehicle to vehicle using a relatively short and simple process. It should also be noted that outside lifts are generally best for those who can stand for two to three minutes while the lift is operating. But once the wheelchair is strapped down and covered, moving it from place to place is made much easier.

Interior Wheelchair Lift for vehicles

Interior Scooter or Wheelchair Lift Example

Inside or Interior Lifts
Finally, interior lifts are cost efficient and improve mobility, although they are a bit more difficult to operate for some users. They’re similar to hybrid lifts, but instead of operating with the push of a button, indoor lifts swing outward in order to lift and load the wheelchair or scooter.

Check out the video playlist above of Harmar and Bruno scooter and wheelchair lifts that are available.

Ultimately, being able to differentiate between the benefits of outside lifts, hybrid lifts, and inside lifts can help you make the most informed decision regarding your mobility needs.

AccessNSM provides various types of the scooter and wheelchair lifts for cars, trucks, vans and SUVs, manufactured by Bruno and Harmar. Contact an AccessNSM branch today for a free evaluation.

stair lift

Answering Common Questions About Harmar Lifts: Part 2

stair lift

In the last post, we answered some of the most commonly asked questions about Harmar lifts. However, there are still a number of questions that need to be addressed in order to properly determine the right product for your mobility needs. Here are some answers to some more common questions about Harmar lifts.

Is a stair lift the same as a vertical platform lift?
No, the two are very different products that serve very different purposes. While a stair lift is designed to carry the patient up and down full flights of stairs, a vertical platform lift, sometimes referred to as a VPL, is designed to transport a scooter, wheelchair, or power chair up and down distances ranging from two feet to 14 feet.


Vertical Platform Lift for Wheelchairs

Vertical Platform Lift

Harmar explains, “A VPL can be used inside or outside the home to move a mobility device and its user from ground level to an elevated porch, deck or second level. A VPL has a much smaller footprint than a ramp which would require a gradual slope and much longer space.” The biggest difference between stair lifts and vertical platform lifts are their capabilities.

I have a curved staircase; is there a Harmar lift for me?
Yes! Unlike some accessibility product manufacturers, which only design stair lifts for straight staircases, Harmar developers have designed high-quality curved staircase lifts that work as effortlessly as their straight stairway counterparts. If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to contact a local AccessNSM branch. We are a certified Harmar lift dealer.

Harmar Curved Stairlift

Harmar Curved Stairlift

What if my stair lift malfunctions?
If you feel as though there is a mechanical problem with your Harmar wheelchair lift or stair lift, stop the machine and remove any attached vehicles. If there is a footrest equipped in the device, fold it in. Unplug the system and plug it back in, and this should correct the issue. If you’re still having problems, consult the Harmar lift manual for specific troubleshooting suggestions.

By 2030, older adults (seniors) will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population. And ultimately, being aware of the basic benefits that come with stair lifts can help you make the best investment in your mobility, your health, and your overall quality of life. For more information about Harmar commercial and home stairlift solutions, contact AccessNSM.

harmar lift dealers

Answering Common Questions About Harmar Lifts: Part 1

harmar lift dealers

According to HomeAdvisor’s 2016 Aging in Place Report, home service professionals say the top aging-in-place projects they’ve been hired to do include installing grab bars (71%) and adding entryway wheelchair ramps (54%). But when it comes to accessibility standards, lifts are also an essential piece of equipment for mobility assistance. Before you reach out to Harmar lifts dealers to invest in your own personal Harmar stair lift, however, it’s important to understand the basic capabilities that these lifts have to offer. Here’s part one of our FAQ regarding Harmar commercial and home stairlift solutions.

What is a stair lift?
A stairlift is a motorized device that has the ability to carry a person up or down a stairway. The person sits on the chair as it glides up or down the stairway’s steps. Stairlifts come in models that are designed for indoor or outdoor use; outdoor use stairlifts are designed to withstand even severe weather conditions. Consult with Harmar lift dealers to hear about which model is best suited for your mobility needs.

Harmar Lift

Harmar Lifts for Stairs

What type of maintenance do Harmar wheelchair lifts and stair lifts require?
Harmar products are designed and manufactured with low-maintenance features in mind. They are tested for quality assurance and therefore should not need much maintenance whatsoever. For specific details regarding the maintenance needs of your lift, consult the Harmar lift manual.

How do I determine which types of lifts are compatible with my mobility device or vehicle?
Contact an AccessNSM branch to hear about which products are most suitable for your needs. We are a Harmar lift dealer  There are such a wide range of Harmar products available, and there’s bound to be a solution that works perfectly for you.

Can my Harmar lift be plugged into the electrical wiring on my current vehicle?
No. All Harmar lift devices are powered by electrical harnesses, which come fully supplied with each lift. The harness is equipped with full-length leads that are designed to be directly attached to the lift’s battery.

Ultimately, knowing the answers to these common questions surrounding Harmar lift products can help you make the most well-rounded and informed decision regarding your mobility needs. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we’ll answer some more common questions about Harmar lifts.

vertical lifts for home

Curved Stair Lifts vs. Straight Stair Lifts: What’s the Difference?

vertical lifts for home

From not understanding modern technology to having trouble hearing, getting older comes with its fair share of challenges. But if you’re approaching your golden years, then there might be another issue you experience frequently: limited mobility. And considering that over two million senior citizens are admitted to the ER annually for fall-related injuries, safety should be high on your list of priorities as you age.

If you want to ensure your personal safety while living in the comfort of a familiar place, vertical lifts for homes are an excellent option. But when it comes to choosing between curved stair lifts and straight stair lifts, you’re left with a difficult decision. Is there really a difference between the two? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Straight Stair Lifts

Straight Stair Lifts

Straight Stair Lifts
When you look at your typical stair lifts for homes, the majority of your options will be straight. These platform lifts for home use are designed purely for the safe mobility of people who may not be able to get up and down the stairs of a multi-story home anymore. Some benefits of a straight stair lift include:

  • Safety when moving between floors
  • Independence as you grow older in your home
  • Convenient installation
  • Affordable prices

Straight stair lifts offer all of these benefits and more. But what happens when your main stairwell isn’t a single set of straight stairs?

Curved Stair Lifts

Curved Stair Lifts

Curved Stair Lifts
Fortunately, you have multiple options when it comes to mobility in your own home. If your home’s main stairwell is curved (or you have multiple connected stairwells) a custom curved stair lift is an excellent option. Unlike straight stair lifts for homes, the rails of curved stair lifts are fitted specifically to the contours of your stairwell, whether it’s curved or it turns at a sharp angle. Some homeowners may be tempted to invest in two straight stair lifts rather than a curved stair lift, but ultimately it becomes an issue of safety. When two straight stair lifts are installed, the user must transfer from one seat to another in the middle of the stairwell. Not only does this open up opportunities for mechanical complications, it puts the user’s safety at risk.

When it comes down to it, chair lifts for seniors are often essential tools in maintaining mobility and independence. But where safety is concerned, a curved stair lift offers a better sense of security in homes with custom stairwells.

handicap bathroom requirements

Your Guide To Transforming Any Bathroom To Meet Handicap Bathroom Requirements

handicap bathroom requirements

Many people think that transforming their bathroom to be handicap accessible requires significant time, money, and other resources. But each year, nearly 235,000 people experience injuries in the bathroom, according to the CDC, and taking some small steps to make sure your bathroom meets accessibility standards can make all the difference in transforming it into a room that people of all abilities feel safe and comfortable using. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the specifics of the ADA’s handicap bathroom requirements.

Before we discuss specific bathroom accessibility products, it’s important to address the issue of space. Handicap bathrooms must be able to accommodate a wheelchair rotating 90 degrees, which is typically about 60 inches in diameter. Keep in mind that certain fixtures may be accounted for in this required space, i.e., if a bathroom counter is high enough off the floor and has empty space under it that would allow for a wheelchair, that space can count toward the 60 inches.

The height of a toilet seat should be between 17 and 19 inches to comfortably accommodate a wheelchair. There should also be 60 inches of space around the toilet for wheelchair rotation purposes. The Balance states that an accessible lavatory should extend a minimum of 17 inches from its back wall with an additional 29 inches of space “from the bottom of the apron to the finished floor.” Keep in mind that the maximum height of a lavatory should not exceed 34 inches, and if it is placed on a counter, there should be no more than two inches of space from the front edge.

Grab Bars
Another major component of creating a handicap accessible bathroom is the installation of grab bars. These are not intended to be used as towel racks, but rather, to aid those with limited mobility in getting on and off of the facilities. The diameter of a grab bar should measure between one and a quarter inches to one and a half inches, according to ADA guidelines. It should also be placed between 34 and 38 inches off the ground for maximum usability. The grab bar should also be rounded and have a large enough gap to be comfortably grabbed.

Ultimately, understanding these ADA bathroom requirements can help you transform your bathroom into one that is safe and easy to use for people of all ability levels. For more information about handicap bathroom requirements and wheelchair vehicle lifts, contact Access NSM.

stair lift

Considering Investing In A Stair Lift? A Quick FAQ To Help You Get Started

stair lift

Approximately 6.8 million Americans use assist devices to aid their mobility. One of the most popular types of mobility aids for those residing in homes with multiple levels is a stair lift. Before you invest in your own personal stair lift, it’s important to understand its capabilities. Here are some answers to common questions about stair lifts.

How does a stair lift work?
A stair lift is simply a chair-like lift installed with a motor to transport riders between the various levels of their home. The stair lift typically lifts along the railing of the stairs while keeping the rider safe and comfortable. Various models have been used through the years, but the current and most popular design is proven to be safer, more reliable, and easier to maintain.

Does a stair lift only work with straight staircases?
No — again, stair lift technology has greatly expanded to meet accessibility standards over the years and can now be installed on virtually any type of staircase. Even if your staircase is longer, narrower, or more winding than most, stair lift professionals can almost always help to find a solution that works for you and keeps you comfortable.

Does installing a stair lift cause damage to your staircase?
When installed properly, a stair lift should not cause any damage to your staircase or the surrounding area. The two to three hour installation process has been optimized to be as minimally invasive as possible while providing safety, comfort, and mobility to its users.

How do stair lift users get off at the top or bottom of the stairs?
Stair lifts come equipped with a swivel mechanism in the seat to allow for quick and easy motion. This mechanism allows passengers to exit at either the top or bottom of a stairwell with ease, and without risk of tripping or getting stuck in the seat. Rest assured these products are some of the safest of their kind.

What electrical components are required for stair lift installation?
Typically, all that is needed to get your new stair lift working is a nearby electrical outlet of standard size.

Ultimately, understanding these essential answers about stair lifts is the best way to make the right decision regarding your mobility needs. For more information about outdoor stair lifts or curved stair lifts, contact Access NSM.

patient lifts for home use

Hone In On The Home: Top Tips To Help Facilitate Aging In Place

patient lifts for home use

The majority of seniors (upwards of 90%, in fact) aged 65 and over want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. But certain adjustments need to be made in order for a house to be safe and comfortable for its inhabitants. Whether you are currently experiencing mobility issues or you simply want to plan ahead for the future, here are the most important areas of your home that will likely need some upgrades.

The front door
Long-term accessibility starts with your home’s main entryway. You might not currently be bothered by stairs leading to your front door, but without a ramp, you’ll have a tough time coming and going. If you intend to keep your stairs in addition to your ramp installation, you should make sure to install a railing and stair treads for traction. Once you actually get to the front door itself, you may encounter another challenge: an entry that’s far too narrow for a wheelchair or walker to fit through. ADA door requirements require front entries to be at least 32″ wide with a straight-on approach. You may need to carve out a wider doorway to accommodate you or your visitors.

The bathroom(s)
HomeAdvisor’s 2016 “Aging in Place Report” found that 48% of homeowners over the age of 55 agreed that the number one area they’ve considered modifying in their home is the bathroom. That’s no surprise, considering that it’s a spot we all need to use — and it comes with many safety hazards. Grab bars are definitely a must here, as they’ll often prevent falls in the shower or around the toilet. You may also want to think about installing hand-held shower heads, shower seats, or walk-in showers or tubs. Raised toilet seats (accessibility standards are 19 inches in height) are often a good choice, as well.

The stairs
Of course, the stairs in your home can quickly become problematic if you don’t plan ahead. Make sure you have handrails on both sides of the stairs, rather than relying on a wall for support on one side. You should also consider installing additional traction and low-glare overhead lighting, as these additions can keep you steadier on your feet and give you better visibility. It may also be a good idea to explore patient lifts for home use. Even if you have no current need for stair lifts, you may find you eventually do or have others who might benefit from patient lifts for home use.

The kitchen
In the kitchen, countertops should be lowered to allow for wheelchair use. You should also make sure there’s enough room to maneuver with the added bulk of a chair, walker, or other mobility aid. It’s also a good idea to install faucets with lever-style handles and opt for pull-down or pull-out shelving. You may also want to remove lower cabinets or adding in a motorized sink that can adjust to a user’s height automatically. Finally, be sure to cover up plumbing and other sharp objects to prevent injury.

You may not require safety bars, widened doorways, or patient lifts for home use right now, but if you want to age in place, you’ll need to plan ahead. By focusing on these key spots in your home, you’ll be in a much better position to make the changes you need before you actually need them. That way, you can have the peace of mind you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way — right there in the comfort of your own home.

wheelchair lifts

How To Choose The Right Wheelchair Lift For Your Lifestyle

wheelchair lifts

Despite handicap accessible laws and ADA door requirements in public places, getting around with a wheelchair can still be a challenge. Because public and private staircases and vehicles are designed for able-bodied people before those who are disabled, finding a way around these obstacles can be frustrating.

Fortunately, wheelchair lifts for home life and wheelchair lifts for vehicles can help to make mobility in the public and private sphere that much more promising. However, because there are a surprising number of wheelchair lifts available to those who need them, it can be difficult to choose which kind is right for you. Here are some of the most common wheelchair lift types to help you make the right choice for your lifestyle:

Incline Lift

Incline lifts
Up to 50% of falls experienced by older Americans take place in the home. One of the worst obstacles in a home can be the stairs because of their steep incline. Incline lifts help you navigate the staircase in your home by allowing you to travel diagonally along the stairs in your wheelchair to get from the bottom floor to the top floor or vice versa.

These types of lifts can be incredibly useful if you don’t have a lot of room in your home or if you want a lift that’s able to be lifted up and out of the way for other relatives or friends to use the stairs as well.

Vertical Platform Lift

Platform lifts
Platform lifts go by many names including “vertical platform lift” and “porch lift.” These types of assistive lifts allow for a wheelchair user to be transported from one floor to another. However, unlike the incline lift, the platform lift transports vertically like a personal elevator.

The user enters onto the platform and closes the door. After the user pushes a button, the lift then transports the user to the next floor. The user can then exit the device by simply opening the door and exiting the platform.


Scalamobil Stair Climber

Scalamobil Stair Climber

The Scalamobil is a great mobility device for those looking for a lift that will stay with them while they’re on the move. However, this type of equipment requires the assistance of a relative, friend, or caregiver. A Scalamobil attaches to the bottom of a wheelchair and allows the wheelchair user to essentially “climb” the stairs with the help of the second person.  This is also a great solution for very narrow staircases.

Wheelchair Lift For Vehicles

Auto lifts
Auto lifts come in a variety of options and can enable you, as a wheelchair user, to drive any type of vehicle you want while taking your wheelchair along for the ride. However, the type of car you drive determines where you can store your wheelchair. For instance, you may either store the wheelchair externally on the outside of the vehicle (as in a truck bed or platform) or internally via an auto lift.

Wheelchairs are incredible assistive devices that allow those who use them to maintain their independence and mobility. With a wheelchair lift installed in your home or vehicle, you can improve your independence even more by getting rid of the limits set against your wheels.

medical lift chair

Hospital To Home: Helping Your Senior Loved One Transition

medical lift chair

After a surgery or medical procedure, having impaired mobility can be difficult for an aging individual. This can be especially true when they transition from the hospital or rehab center back into their home. As a family member, you have an important role in helping to ease this transition. By helping your loved one use medical lift chairs and other mobility aids, you can ensure both their independence and safety.

Step 1: Speak with their doctor and healthcare team.
Before your loved one leaves the rehab center or hospital, take the time to speak with their doctor and healthcare team over their specific medical needs. You may even request want to request a home evaluation.  Understand the extent of their mobility restrictions and the details of their medications. The healthcare team may also have recommendations for accessible products for the home such as a wheelchair ramp, stairlift, porch lift, bathroom accessibility products or other solutions for the home.

Step 2: Identify household hazards.
For older adults, over 50% of falls happen at home, so it’s important to prevent them as much as possible. Whether your loved one is moving in to their own home, or they are living in yours, take the time to identify the risks in every room. These can be everything from slippery areas, rugs to wires on the floor. Clean the home and remove these hazards before your loved one moves home.

Step 3: Purchase the necessary equipment.
Look into home accessibility standards and purchase the appropriate equipment to help your loved one get around the house. Find a trusted provider and schedule installation of grab bars, lift chairs, handicap door opener button, and other equipment ahead of time. Test out the equipment ahead of time to ensure that it is working properly.

Step 4: Teach your family on how to use a patient lift.
Lifting a person without the ability to assist can be a challenge. If a patient lift was provided, be sure to learn how to use it and help your family members learn how to operate it as well.  As soon as your loved one arrives home, you can get them feeling comfortable right away. Be patient and practice using the lift multiple times.

Step 5: Take care of emotional needs.
Mobility equipment is all about monitoring physical needs, but remember to take care of your loved one’s emotional state as well. Sit and chat with them regularly to check in about their recovery. Having impaired mobility can be detrimental to their mental health, so be aware of this.

By taking your loved ones mobility needs and independence seriously, you can help them feel in control as they recover from their procedure or come to terms with a permanent disability. No matter their physical ability, your loved one will certainly benefit from appropriate accessibility products and a safe home environment. The feelings of safety and independence will help them feel more in control of their life.