It’s Springtime in the western world and more people are heading outside in the northern climates. We get busy enjoying the outdoors, working on projects around our living environments, and moving stuff from here to there with greater frequency than in the colder months. Let’s get specific and take a closer look at the ingenuity of some folks when it comes to one particular place we navigate our outdoor environment . . .
Here’s a wheelchair, wheelbarrow, or people ramp NOT to love! I post it here only because it is very common to use what materials are lurking in our garage or shed to temporarily solve a problem. As an Occupational Therapist, I have seen wacky ramp designs from my home health care patients more often that you would imagine! A ramp that ends in the middle of the lawn? A ramp so steep that no one could use it safely and the plywood slipped during use? A slanted platform in the middle of a sunken living room without a railing or markings to increase visibility (color contrast) of the platform edges? Check, check, and check! Oh my!
Please don’t do it! Secure your ramp and use a 1:12 rise-to-length ratio in your ramping configuration. The material needs to be sturdy enough to bear user weight under all intended uses and endure all kinds of weather conditions. It must not collect water too. Perhaps a better option in the picture above would be to install a curb cut!
Here’s one helpful guide from The Center for Universal Design at the NC University College of Design. The gold standard in ramp design comes from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and revised version in 2009. The guidelines are summarized nicely by Stepless by Guldman in the following summary: ADA Ramp Codes.
Inside the home, we are often constrained by space, furniture or belongings, traffic patterns, personal habits, and needs of other members within the household. In my upcoming eBook, Caring for the Sandwich Generation at Home, I will discuss ramps both inside and outside the home. In the meantime, check out this blog post for more tips on getting into/getting out of your home.
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