Example Of How To Address Home Entrance Steps Safety Risk
The Senior Safety Questionnaire (SSQ) questions are arranged by related topics. Today we are focusing on the entrance to the house. As an example, my house has 9 steps in the front with a rise of 60 inches. On the side of my house it is only 42 inches from the driveway to the main floor. See my Safety Video on Entry Steps.
The options for my house include:
- Adding a second handrail, so I can hold onto both sides.
By adding a handrail in the center about 32 inches from the right hand handrail I will be able to hold both of them at the same time. This is the easiest and cheapest solution.
- Install an ADA ramp (American Disabilities Act regulations). The ramp needs 1:12 ratio which means it goes forward 12 inches for every 1 inch of rise. For my house, it would take 60 feet of ramp.
The ramp needs 1:12 ratio which means it goes forward 12 inches for every 1 inch of rise. For my house, it would take 60 feet of ramp. That would not be very appealing because it would either have to double back on itself or wrap a long ways around my house.
- Add a platform lift. This is like the lifts on the back of a van to raise a wheelchair from the ground up into the van.
I would need to add a doorway and attach it to the side of the house.
- Consider moving to safer house with no more than 2 steps. No steps at all are ideal.
This is not my preference because I like gardening and I can’t move that with me.
Here are some guidelines related to entries from the Universal Design checklist by SafeScore.org.
- No entry steps – this makes it safer for common activities such as carrying groceries as well as being safer if a person has a walker or wheelchair.
- Surfaces leading up to the door should be well maintained with no cracks.
- The width of the entry should be no less than 36 inches.
- The slope should be no greater than 1:20 which is 20 inches forward for each inch of rise.
- The entry should be well lighted.
- Doorway at least 36 inches wide.
- Threshold height not more than ½ inch.
- Landing area is covered from the weather and is no less than 5 by 5 feet.
What can you do to make your entrance safer?