Universal Design – You May Need It Sooner Than You Think

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Last updated on January 1, 1970

An Unforeseen Accident Results in a Universal Design Remodel

We often equate universal design (or accessible design) with aging or being disabled, but recovering from an accident can make universal design elements immediately necessary.

One of our customers recently experienced a fall and broken hip. We’re happy to say she’ll be fine in the long run. While she’s recovering, though, she needs some help maneuvering through her home. Because we have two Universal Design Certified Professionals on staff, Charlie Schloegel and Debby Allmon, we were able to speak the same language as her occupational therapist and determine exactly what she needed to make life easier and safer!

The therapist recommended new grab bars in the shower, a hand-held showerhead and levered handles at the sink. This bathroom had received a Schloegel Express Custom Bath remodel four years ago, so we knew our way around and were able to install things easily. We also added an extra railing to her stairwell to make that area safer.

Some things to consider when making a room more accessible include:

  • Extra blocking in the wall – grab bars and railings must be anchored into a structural part of the wall (not simply screwed into drywall or tile).  When you build or remodel a bath or stairwell, place 2×4’s between wall studs in appropriate places to act as anchors for future bars and railings.
  • Door widths – you probably know that wheel chairs need wider doors (36”), but walkers need extra room too!
  • Flooring surfaces – hardwood and tile look great and have the added bonus of being easier than carpet to walk on with a cane or walker.

There’s much more to know about accessible design; fortunately Schloegel has the experts to help.  If you want to plan ahead for your future needs or find yourself in immediate need of a safer,  more accessible home, call Debby or Charlie at 816-361-9669.