ENTERING AND EXITING YOUR HOME

Points of entry into your home are both practical and symbolic. The entry also includes getting the mail, getting in with packages and doing it all safely. You need to know that you CAN get in and out, whether you are rushing or at leisure, whether it is sunny or raining, and – importantly – that you can act independently so your schedule can change to suit your whims to get to all the life enhancing activities that make it grand to be YOU!

Points of entry into your home are both practical and symbolic. You need to know you CAN get in and out whether you are rushing or at leisure, whether it is sunny or raining, whether you’re planning to go out or being spontaneous. Entries and exits get you to all the life enhancing activities that make it grand to be YOU!

Here are some tips designing your home to reduce risks around entries and exits:

  • Have a no-step entry, ideally those with berms and paths which ‘disappear’ into the landscape.
  • Entries and ramps should have a maximum slope of 1:12, or ‘one unit of rise per one unit of run’. Steeper slopes can be climbed with use of helpers or devices but remember it can be scary for those using assistive devices to descend a steep slope.  The risk of ‘tumbling out’ also increases.
  • Turning platforms should be at least 5′ x 5′ or longer if the turn is 180 degrees. The top area must be wide enough to handle a doors wing AND the entrant. There should be 2′ clearance on the latch (non-hinge) side of the door.
  • Sloped entryways should have greppable handrails if they are more than thirty inches off the ground, or if the user uses a rail to pull, stabilize or slow down. Note that not everyone is comfortable with a sloped entry. Those with hip replacements, for example, sometimes find sloped walkways difficult.
  • Consider conditions when getting in and out of a vehicle. “Bell shaped” widening at such points are good ideas so transfers can occur on pavement instead of grass, dirt or other surfaces. There should be room for the transferee, any mobility aids like a walker and an assistant.
  • Sometimes mechanical equipment is the best way to make a no step entry. The financial advantages become clear around 30″ of rise (30 feet of run). The equipment can blend into the landscape or be built into porch and rail. Often a strategically placed bush helps a lift to be almost unnoticeable.
  • The top area of entry MUST be level with the interior floor. Any steps up or down into the home can create opportunities to stumble and fall. If this is not the case an additional grip from the stoop to the interior may be needed.