Portable wheelchair ramps? - AgingCare.com

Portable wheelchair ramps?

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Does anyone have experience retro fitting homes for accessibility? I got estimates for $3,000 to build a ramp but then I see portable wheelchair ramps online starting at less than $100. Also looking for advice on stair glides...or if not how others have created access to showers without a major reno. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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AARP Guide to Revitalizing Your Home: Beautiful Living for the Second Half of Life Paperback – September 7, 2010 by Rosemary Bakker (Author) I have found this book to be helpful and inspiring. Lots of good info on the web under home modification and ADA home modification as well.
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Switchbacks are typically 5'x8' to give room for turning
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MobilityASAP - great source of info!

I'd like to add to remember to take into consideration turning ratios on the wheelchair and also amount of space needed for both the wheelchair /walker & for a standing person to move around the wheelchair /walker. A lot of times the ramp is done with the thought that the individual can still do for themselves so they can open/close the door, put key in, etc. But if they actually need someone with them to do this, you need to have enough space on landings, doorways to get both through without too much squeezing.
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Check out wheelchair-ramps-designs for ideas on DIY wheelchair ramps. I built one in my mom's garage (2 steps up to kitchen) for $75 out of 12 inch wide 2x10s. Took me only an hour or two. She used it for a mobility scooter. I dont know if I would use bare wood.
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Wood Ramps are generally cheaper but, can become slippery when it rains or snows and are prone to rot particularly if plywood is used. Also, when you are finished with them they can only be taken to the dump since they are built from pressure treated wood. What ever you buy or have built, be sure for each inch of rise (lower level to upper level) there is as close to 1 foot of ramp as possible. This allows for safe use and is the ADA standard. My preference is for aluminum or steel ramps with hand rails. They are easy to set up, generally do not require a permit and can be reused or recycled after you are finished. They also offer non skid walkways and are maintenance free. You pay more but, the advantages are well worth the extra cost. Prices vary depending on aluminum or steel and if installation is included. National Ramp, EZ Access and PVI are all good choices for quality and local dealer support.

Stairglides or stair lifts are a great devise. My advise is to purchase from a local dealer with good ratings by Better Business Bureau and reviews on Yelp etc. A reputable dealer will offer new, used and sometimes rental of stair lifts. And, they will always offer professional installation. Beware of companies trying to sell you a stair lift over the internet. Bruno Independent Living Aids is a safe bet for good, reliable stair lifts and they have an extensive dealer network. Prices vary greatly depending on your stairway and specific needs. Straight Stair Lifts general start around $1,500 used and $2,600 for new. Curved Stair Lifts start at around $9,000 and go up from there depending on brand and how many turns etc.

As for making it safer to enter and exit a shower without installing something like a Barrier Free Shower, you may want to purchase a transfer bench with a seat that slides once the user is seated. Basically the user sits down outside and next to the shower or bathtub and the seat slides into the shower or bathtub. The user can remain seated while showering for added safety. Some come with a seat that swivels as well as slides for added usability. These can be purchased on Amazon among other places for $120-$250 depending on features and material.
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For the shower you might be able to use a freestanding portable ramp. They come in a variety of heights and widths.
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Thank you everyone for your responses!! Experience from people on this list is priceless. I have a contractor coming out but will also get an estimate from a local handyman. I have a portable one to use in the meantime that a friend lent to me...wishing everyone the best and saying prayers for all.

Still not sure about the shower issue but in the meantime there is adult day care center I can take her to...and I'm hoping the installation of a small shower downstairs won't be too expensive...
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It's actually pretty simple to figure out what your need. ADA for residential is a 2:1 ratio but you might want to go 1:1 to make it easier to push. What this means is basically measure your rise and divide it by 2. For example, let's say you have 3 steps. A step typically is 7 inches. 7 inches x 3 steps = 21. 21 / 2 = 11.5 You would need an 11.5 foot ramp. Most aluminum modular ramps will run you $100 or more per foot. So with and 11.5 foot ramp, you round up to 12 feet. 12 feet x $100 = $1200 not installed. Installation would take on average 2 hours. If I can be of any more help please let me know.
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I paid $4600 for one for a vertical rise of 3 steps. I found the company online, it was local. I talked through the design, took measurements, had my BIL double check my measurements, i faxed and expedited the order. 3 days later it was installed. Best contractor I ever worked with. They did not leave behind a spec of dust. I was desperate, dad was about to be released and there was no way to get him in and out of the house. They accepted credit cards.

If I would have had more time I may have hired a handyman, a wood one would have been cheaper. Mine is aluminum, it also served as an exercise walkway with handles for dad's therapy.


I designed it to ADA specs, if you make it shorter, it is steeper and more difficult to climb, you need to work with the space you have. I built mine in the back door, it was lower than the front, and had more open space to work with. Mine is considered a "temporary structure" so it technically does not require a permit.

It was expensive, but worth it.

I also bought a folding temporary ramp for a single step indoors for $250 on overstock. This was very sturdy and worked well.

Both mine were in use for 3 years and are as good as new.
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The length of ramp will depend entirely on the rise.
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