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Creating An Accessible Home: 4 Ways to Make Doors Senior-Friendly

As we get older, our bodies undergo a variety of changes that can make daily tasks more strenuous and difficult. One task that many seniors noticeably find more difficult as they get older is manipulating and opening doors.

In this post we share 4 simple ways to make your doors senior-friendly. For more tips on how to create and maintain an accessible home, check out our blog regularly or contact us directly.

1. Invest in Threshold Ramps

accessible home tips: threshold ramps

Ideally, any threshold in your accessible home should be completely levelled out, but that isn’t always possible. That’s where threshold ramps can provide a simple, cheap, and effective solution.

Starting from around $75, our threshold ramps can help you easily tackle any uneven surfaces both indoors and out. They offer a slight, steady incline that meets national slope guidelines and are a great accessory for people who rely on a mobility aid (such as a chair or walker) or have reduced mobility.

Most threshold ramps are made from durable material and usually come in a set of separate pieces (increasing in ½” increments). This allows you to easily create and install a ramp ranging from roughly 1” to 3”, which will tackle most thresholds in a normal home. They are also slip-resistant for added safety and super simple to install.

2. Install Offset Hinges

accessible home: threshold hinges

Offset hinges (also known as swing clear or swing away hinges) are another simple, cost-effective tool to help you create senior friendly doorways for an accessible home.

An open doorway should provide at least 32” of clear space, although 34-36” is ideal for anyone using a mobility aid. If your doorways are slightly under these recommendations, offset hinges are a great way to help you maximize your potential space.

Unlike regular hinges, offset hinges allow a door to swing completely out the doorway. In turn, you’ll be able to widen your doorway by up to 2” without having to make any major structural changes to your home.

3. Install Lever-Style Handles

accessible home tips: lever style handles

Many seniors struggle to manipulate door handles because they find it difficult to twist or turn traditional knobs. This difficulty is intensified for anyone suffering from conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, or wheelchair users trying to open a door from a seated position.

Lever-style handles are a simple way to address these issues. They can be installed on any traditional push/pull door and can be combined with a lock fixture for extra security on external doors. Make sure to avoid any handles that require you to push down a latch with your thumb, as they may prove difficult to use.

Installing lever-style handles is extremely simple and can be done by almost any amateur handyman/woman. However, if you’re a bit concerned about your DIY skills, contact us today to speak to one of our trained professionals.

4. Invest in Automatic Door Openers

accessible home tips: automatic door openers

Lastly, automatic door openers are a great investment for anyone suffering from mobility issues or reliant on a mobility aid.

Automatic door openers are able to unlatch, open, and lock a door at the touch of a button. While these systems can be expensive (ranging from $2000 to $2500), they are extremely useful for seniors who struggle to manipulate a door or who are bound to a wheelchair.

While there are various models available on the market, the Open Sesame Residential Package is a great wireless system that comes with a variety of features, including a high-powered remote, smooth operation, and much more.

For more information on how to create an accessible home, contact our certified Aging in Place specialists today. We’re always here to help.