Accessibility and mobility are two things a lot of people with mobility issues struggle with around their homes. With that being said, what are some of the things that you need to consider when looking for a door that is access and mobility-focused?
This is especially essential for people with defined mobility requirements like wheelchair users, people who are a bit longer in the tooth and those who need a little more help when it comes to staying mobile.
The last point becomes more significance as the life expectancy in the UK continues to rise. Currently, about 18% of the UK’s populations is aged over 65, a number that is predicted to leap to 25% by the year 2046.
Remodelling and rethinking our homes to fit our changing requirements as we continue to age is crucial considering that we are all living longer. It is essential that you make these changes right now since they will not only benefit you but also your friends and family who already need these requirements.
Improving the Accessibility of Entrance Doors
Ensuring that entrance doors are considerate is crucial in making it easy for people with restricted mobility to lead independent lives.
There are so many things that a good door design could do to support people who require some help to remain mobile, helping them minimise the risk of injury and maintain their independence.
According to figures released by the government, about a third of UK residents aged over 65, and around half of those aged over 80, fall at least once annually, leading to injury, pain, loss of confidence and distress.
Adding a railing, ramp or a handrail could considerably improve accessibility and reduce fall risks.
It is vital that you also consider ease of operation and reliability. PVC-U and composite doors, like those supplied by KJM group, are typically maintenance free and are not subject to warping and twisting, two issues that have an impact on how timber doors operate.
When choosing a door, one of the most important things to consider is the door’s threshold. It is essential that your door has a low threshold. A standard door’s threshold, the piece of the door frame at the bottom that people step over, is typically about 70 millimetres. The threshold is set at this height to improve a door’s sealing and thermal efficiency.
At 70 millimetres, however, the threshold could be a challenge for people with limited mobility, making it very hard for wheelchair users to bump the wheels over them.
Low thresholds sit at around 12 millimetres, a low enough height that allows wheelchair users easier access.
Wheelchair Access Doors
If you use a wheelchair to move around, there are several, key factors that you will need to consider. One of the main factors to consider is Minimum ECW or Effective Clear Opening Widths
According to accessibility experts, the suggested and most ideal effective clear opening width is 900 millimetres. However, this isn’t always achievable in most older buildings.
At the same time, there are several other practical considerations to think about. For a standard wheelchair to make a 360-degree turn, the space required is 1,500 millimetres by 1,500 millimetres. As such, it is crucial to ensure that there is clutter-free and clear space past the door, like in the hallway.
It is also essential that doors open beyond 90-degrees to grant wheelchair users unhindered passage. For this to be supported, it is vital that there be a no less than 300 millimetres clear space between the wall and the edge of the door.
Altering Windows to Improve Accessibility
The design of a window could also have a significant impact on the independence, quality of life and mobility of people with restricted mobility, wheelchair users, and older people.
When it comes to making windows more accessible, you could lower the height of a window to make it more accessible for wheelchair users. Another aspect to consider is the types of window handles to install considering that most standard handles are difficult to grip.
For a window sill to be more accessible to a wheelchair user, it should be positioned no more than 900 to 1200 millimetres from the floor. At this height, wheelchair users have a reasonable view of the outside.
There’s also a wide range of closing and opening mechanisms available on the market. They include manual and powered window winding systems which users can use to close and open out-of-reach windows or if they cannot operate a standard window closing and opening system.