A porch, a step or two, an uneven threshold – the smallest features can be the biggest barriers to accessibility for mobility devices. A home ramp can make your house an accessible safe haven for you and caregivers alike, and the options for assistance seem endless. As you search for the best-fit ramp for your home and needs, let these questions guide you:
- What mobility device am I accommodating? From temporary manual wheelchairs to three-wheeled scooters to four-wheeled complex power chairs, assistive mobility devices run the gamut. Ramps differ in material, weight capacity, and function, so begin your search with a list of your mobility device’s specifications handy to find the best fit ramp.
- Is this a long-term living situation? If your living arrangement looks stable for at least another year, investing in a free-standing ramp is your best option. Aluminum ramps are more durable and customizable than wooden options, and they’re more easily packed up in the event of a move. But, if a move to a more accessible home or assisted living facility is in the near future, a portable option might be enough to support you during the transition. Designed for transport, portable ramps are lightweight, foldable, and cost-efficient options that allow you to maneuver over thresholds and into vehicles with equal ease.
- Do I have assistance from a partner? If a caregiver is capable of helping you in and out of the house as needed, a portable ramp may suffice. However, if you live alone or if your caregiver isn’t physically capable of placing and removing a ramp as you come and go, a free-standing solution offers ease and peace of mind for both you and your partner.
- Is the surface safe? Rain and snow can create hazardous conditions for you or your caregiver as you’re propelled up a slope. A non-slip surface is a must for safety. Make sure your ramp’s design features either grooved surfaces or grip strips to provide traction as you go.
- How long should it be? A ramp that’s too short creates an incline that’s near impossibly to tackle. To check whether your selected ramp can cover your needs, take three measurements: the vertical rise from ground to threshold, the distance between the highest point and farthest and clearest point on your path, and the width of the desired location. Aim for a ramp incline ratio of 1:12 (one inch of height for every twelve inches of length).