Accessibility hacks, mobility aids, and tips (Part 2 of 3)

Written by Paul Shay
Groton, Massachusetts

Grab Bars. In conjunction with my half-steps, we added a conventional grab bar in the doorway to our garage. My wife came up with the idea of using a six-inch, black wrought iron drawer pull in the doorway in our house that contains the step from the entry area to the main level. It works very well, and it looks much less obtrusive and “institutional” than a standard grab bar.

For our shower, we purchased a couple of 12-inch suction cup-mount grab bars and installed them on the walls. They are intended only for assisting in stepping into and out of the shower, and for help with balance―they can’t bear your full body weight. The best thing about them is their portability, thanks to the suction cup-mounting system. They fit handily into a suitcase and make it possible to use hotel rooms that lack installed mobility aids in conjunction with:

Folding Toilet Frame. Essentially a portable set of armchair-like padded rails, this has proven to be one of our best purchases. It is fully height adjustable and fits behind the seat of any commode without mounting hardware. We have been able to toss it in the trunk and take off on trips without having to make an ADA-compliant room reservation.

Stairlift. By far our largest purchase to date has been the installation of a stairlift in our home. With our master bedroom and my office on the second floor, access was becoming a serious issue. We were able to buy a gently used unit with a factory warranty directly from Stannah for $4,300 (including the use of an Angie’s List coupon). While that is not an insubstantial amount, it beat having to move! The unit has a battery backup feature in case of a power failure, and remote controls that allow the chair to tote bulky/heavy objects up and down the stairs

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