If a loved one who uses a mobility aid is moving into your home, you want to do everything in your power to make him or her comfortable. This process often involves installing a handicap accessibility ramp. However, not just any ramp; you want to ensure that the ramp is designed to meet you and your loved one's specific needs.
1. Chair Features
Consider the type of chair that your loved one will use to get around. More specifically, whether or not the chair has a motor feature or is a manual style. If the chair has a motor, you have less concern. If the chair is manual, you should not design a ramp that is too steep.
A steep ramp will require an increased level of upper body strength to maneuver. You will need to extend the length of the ramp to allow for a slower incline. If you do not have a lot of space lengthwise, you will need to install a switch-back ramp style.
2. Local Climate
Be mindful of the type of climate that is normal within your area. This factor is important because it will provide insight into the type of materials that you should design the ramp with, in terms of safety. For example, if you reside in a climate that experiences heavy moisture, such as frequent snow or rain, a wood ramp might not be the best option.
With even a slight amount of moisture collection, this material can become very slippery, which can make it harder for your loved one to move up and down the ramp safely. An aluminum ramp with a ribbed design is a safer alternative.
3. Structural Design
Consider how long your loved one will need to use the ramp in order to determine what type of structural design you should use. If your loved one will eventually transition to a nursing facility or the stay with you is temporary, you should design a detachable ramp.
Detachable ramps can be secured to your home's exterior, but they are also removable. For longer use, a permanent ramp is the better option. These ramps are built onto your home's exterior and become a part of the permanent structure. Permanent ramps tend to be more secure as they can withstand greater use in the long term.
It is always a good idea to speak with a professional to assist you with the design and installation of an accessibility ramp.