What mods to home to accommodate PALS?

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KarstBoy

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Looking for guidance and ideas. Trying to figure out the modifications I'll have to do to my house to get ready for the time when my wife is wheelchair bound and beyond.

1. Doors - current door frames are the 31". Will these need widening? I looked for ADA specs and it says 32" but when talking to a guy in a wheelchair the other day, his was chair's width was only 24" and he says there is no need for such a wide doorframe. Is there something I don't know about here that would cause me to want a door frame bigger than 31"?

2. Bathrooms - any advice.

3. Bedroom - minimum dimensions for maneuvering wheel chair and dealing with lift.

4. Other - ??
 

affected

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You can use the search bar here to look at lots of discussions about each particular concern and get some starting information. Of course then ask specific questions here still.
It can be very helpful to have an OT come to your house and help assess what will be needed as you may not notice many little things (even big things that don't occur).

I'm no expert as we did not do mods and Chris only used parts of the house that he could access, but door frame widths can be influenced by the need to turn as well.

You will find some threads that have lots of photos people have taken of before and after, particularly with bathrooms.
 

lgelb

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The answer to your first question is no. My husband was 6-1, 250# and the width of his power chair measuring arm edge to arm edge was 28". Manual chairs are wider proportionally bc of where the wheels are, so the ADA considers those the threshold. There is nothing in the ADA I would adhere to blindly without thinking about it. And since the OT we had out didn't think we could stay in our apt., the same goes for OT.

As regards the bathroom, many people do transfers somewhere else, since they are often small. So the real question is moving into (requires a roll-in stall or a "track" to bridge the gap like a ShowerBuddy) /accommodating a shower chair in the shower itself, and of course it's nice to have one that fits in the bathroom and over your toilet, but this is not always possible. Toileting does not have to take place in the bathroom but it will require use of the Hoyer whether a toilet or bucket is used.

Whatever lift you are considering or will access via loan, you can find max dimensions "with legs open" or measure it. There may be rooms that do not accommodate the lift and/or the wheelchair. The only room that it is strictly necessary for is the bedroom to get in and out of bed. But for example, our bedroom was not big enough to keep the wheelchair in while using the lift to get into/out of bed. So at night, we moved the wheelchair out once my husband was in the sling so we could maneuver the lift legs under the bed, and vice versa in the morning.

If you have more specific questions -- every space is different -- we are happy to address them.
 

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In addition to reading old threads here, which have covered modifications and work arounds extensively, I also encourage you to visit the website ALS From Both Sides. The section titled Remodel or Move will give you a great start on your planning. The site mentions offset hinges, which we used to get through our bedroom door since enlarging that one would have been a huge job. Know going in that for every perfect modification there is a workaround if your budget isn't up to the ideal. As Lori mentioned, manual chairs and the huge rehab chairs that ALS patients use are two entirely different things, so do be sure to do your planning based on the larger chair.

Best of luck, and congratulations on starting early!!!!
 

ARCG

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We used a shower buddy, which was great, as we didn’t have to remodel our bathroom. We also used the special hinges that made the doors open wider to accommodate his wheel chair. He’s spent most of his days in a recliner with memory foam, that was very comfortable, In our case we were able to use an adjustable bed with memory foam mattress that was on 8 inch risers. I used a baby guard to make sure he didn’t slip out of bed.
 
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