If you’re looking for ADA handrail specifications for wheelchair ramps, please see this post. The following article discusses ADA specifications for handrails used inside the home — specifically in the bathtub and near the toilet.
ADA handrail specifications are a set of guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which installers are encouraged to follow when adding handicap handrails inside a residential dwelling or commercial establishment.
In this post we will clearly outline the specifications recommended by the ADA for installing handrails in and around the bathroom.
ADA Handrail Specifications: In and Around the Bathroom
Handrails Near the Toilet
When installing handicap handrails near the toilet, it is recommended to have one on the side wall as well as the rear wall. The handrail on the side wall should be a minimum length of 42 inches, and placed 12 inches from the rear wall. The distance from the rear wall to the end of the side rail should be 54 inches minimum. The handrail on the rear wall behind the toilet should be a minimum of 36 inches long, with a minimum distance of 12 inches from the water closet.
Roll-in Type Shower Compartments
Roll-in shower compartments are specially modified showers where the individual can roll-in and comfortably transfer themselves to a seated position within the shower. These types of shower compartments should be a minimum 36 inches by 36 inches inside, with a 36 inch opening. Handrails are required on the back wall and the side wall opposite the seat. Handrails are not required to be installed above the seat. The space between the wall and the handrail should be 1.5 inches. The space between the handrail and projecting objects below and at the ends should also be a minimum of 1.5 inches. The space between the handrail and projecting objects above should be a minimum of 12 inches.
Bathtubs With Permanent Seats
Handrails are required on both the back wall and control end wall within a bathtub with permanent seats. Two handrails should be installed horizontally on the back wall. The first handrail should be 33 inches minimum and 36 inches maximum above the floor, while the other should be installed 8 inches minimum and 10 inches maximum above the rim of the bathtub. On the control end wall, the handrail should be a minimum 24 inches in length at the front end of the bathtub (the side with the faucets).
Bathtubs Without Permanent Seats
A bathtub without permanent seats requires handrails on the back wall, control end wall, and head end wall. The ADA handrail specifications for the back wall are identical to the back wall specifications for bathtubs with permanent seats. Specifications are also identical for the handrail installed on the control end wall. On the head end wall the handrail should be a minimum 12 inches in length and installed at the front edge of the bathtub.
Adhering to ADA handrail specifications is necessary to ensure the safety of individuals not only in the bathroom, but anywhere handrails need to be installed. For more information about ADA specifications, you can see the organization’s official documentation here.
There are numerous handicap aids for the home which can make it easier to get around and regain that feeling of independence. We’re confident you can find the right tool to assist you in this list of handicap aids we have put together.
Handicap Aids: Around The House
These handicap aids are designed to assist you in your daily home life. Whether it’s getting around or performing tasks, these tools can help you accomplish more with less effort.
If stairs have become and obstacle, you can overcome them with a stairlift. Stairlifts help you travel up and down stairs on a mechanical track in a seated position. This eliminates the effort involved with walking up and down the stairs, and greatly reduces the risk of injuries that can be sustained from falling down stairs. Stairlifts can be installed to fit just about any stairwell with minimal modifications. For more information, please inquire here.
For wheelchair bound individuals, wheelchair ramps are one of the most essential handicap aids available. Modular wheelchair ramps can help you get in and out of your home with ease, while threshold ramps can help you get through doors and other raised ledges.
Reclining Lift Chairs
When leisure time is no longer as relaxing as it once was, it may be time to look into a reclining lift chair. Even the best La-Z-Boy on the market is a struggle to get in and out of if it’s not powered. With reclining lift chairs being electronically powered, you can use a remote control to raise the seat height to a comfortable level. Then gently ease yourself into the chair, and use the remote to lower it again. This helps take pressure off the muscles and joints when sitting and standing.
You’ve just settled into your favorite power recliner and are ready to relax for the evening. Hold on a minute, the remote is just out of arm’s reach. Not to worry, with a reaching aid by your side you won’t have to get up! Reaching aids can help you reach, lift, and move things closer to you while exerting minimal effort. They’re also great for grabbing items from tall shelves.
We spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping. Our beds should be as comfortable, safe, and secure as possible. In other words, a place where you can look forward to laying down at the end of a long day. A simple over-the-bed table is a versatile tool that can be used however you need it. Anything you need to have accessible from your bed can be placed on the table and rolled away when you’re done. Bedside rails are also recommended for those with limited mobility who may be at risk of injury.
Pill organizers help to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with taking your medication. Modern day pill organizers can not only separate your medication by date and time, they can sound an alarm when it’s time to take your next dose. In order for medication to be effective it has to be taken as prescribed, and you can help ensure that happens by having a tool for keeping it all organized.
Handicap Aids: In the Bathroom
A list of handicap aids for the home would not be complete without taking into consideration something as crucial as the bathroom. The potential for slips, falls, and injuries in the bathroom are greater than perhaps any other room in the house. Tools, like handicap toilet aids and others, will help reduce those risks.
Safety grab bars are one of the most essential bathroom aids. They can be installed anywhere there’s a potential for for someone to fall, or wherever an individual needs extra assistance with getting up and down. These places tend to include the inside of a shower, the side of a bathtub, or on the wall beside a toilet. Safety bars provide people with limited mobility something grab onto if they slip, or assistance if they just need help getting out of the tub after a warm bath.
Bath and Shower Chairs
These bathroom aids almost go hand in hand with safety bars, because if you need one there’s a probability you’ll also need the other. Safety bars can help you get into the bathtub or shower, they provide something to hold onto in the event of a slip and fall, but shower chairs can help prevent falls altogether. These are especially recommended if the individual has difficulty standing for long periods of time. Instead, they can sit comfortably as they freshen up in the morning.
Long Handle Bath/Shower Brushes
Long handle brushes provide assistance to those with limited mobility by giving them the ability to wash difficult-to-reach parts of the body without overexerting themselves. Places like the back of the neck, lower back, legs, and feet can be a challenge to wash if you can’t reach them on your own. Long handle brushes help ensure that a person can bathe independently and stay clean from head to toe.
Handicap Toilet Aids
Raised toilet seats are common handicap toilet aids. They increase the height of a toilet seat, making it easier for a person to sit or stand. The standard height of a toilet seat is around 14 inches, handicap toilet aids increase the height to about 18 inches. This height is more optimal for the average adult, and will reduce stress on the knees when sitting and standing. Other handicap toilet aids we recommend are the previously mentioned safety bars, which provide something to hold onto as the person is in the process of sitting or standing.
With assistance in common areas of the home, as well as private areas like the bedroom and bathroom, handicap aids can help a person stay independent all throughout their day.
New Jersey is an excellent wheelchair accessible state, with plenty of locations and attractions built to meet the unique needs of all its visitors. In this post we will go over a few of those attractions, and discuss what there is to do in NJ during the winter months.
Finding the Best Wheelchair Accessible Locations
Finding the best wheelchair accessible locations is challenging at any time of the year. Even more so during winter when the weather is colder, the ground is wetter, and spending time outdoors is less desirable.
Although no one wants to spend their time cooped up inside either. So what we have done is rounded up some of the best wheelchair accessible locations to visit around the city as the weather gets colder.
Best Indoor Locations
New Jersey State Museum
This accessible location is in the state’s capital city of Trenton. It’s easy to spend an afternoon or an entire day exploring the contents of the museum. Its state-of-the-art facility is host to a planetarium, sculptures and photographs, over 12 thousand paintings, cultural history exhibits, and an archaeological exhibit. General admission entry into the museum is free.
This accessible location located in Camden is formerly known as the New Jersey State Aquarium. It is a for-profit educational entertainment attraction. Visitors to the aquarium can explore nearly 200,000 square feet of sea life and wildlife. Staying open during the winter months, this is an NJ attraction worth keeping on your list for repeat visits. There’s so much to see, you couldn’t possibly do it the first time around.
Liberty Science Center
New Jersey’s largest museum is fully ADA-compliant, which makes this an ideal attraction to add to your list of places to visit in NJ in the winter. Liberty Science Center is an interactive science museum and learning center located in Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
Best Outdoor Locations
Anywhere you go looks a little bit nicer this time of year thanks to the fall colors in the sky, the leaves on the ground, and the minimal amounts of snow tying everything together. New Jersey has many state parks which can be just as well maintained in the winter months as they are in the spring and summer months.
Many locals and tourists alike visit these parks at all times of the year to relax and take in the scenery. Witnessing the change of seasons from summer-to-fall-to-winter in NJ is something that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
We find that the more you look for wheelchair accessible locations in NJ, the more you find that it’s harder to come up with locations that do not meet today’s accessibility standards. NJ is an accommodating city, both indoors and outdoors, which is why we have always been proud to do business here. Certainly don’t let the worry of accessibility keep you from enjoying all the city has to offer in the coming seasons.
Holiday tips for caregivers can never be too plentiful this time of year. Additional stress and demands are placed on caregivers during the holidays, not only from clients but from the caregivers themselves.
As a caregiver, there’s a tendency to feel as though you need to keep doing more, which could lead to you pushing yourself to a point where it starts to become detrimental to your own health.
We have put together a list of holiday tips for caregivers that are intended to help you de-stress and even enjoy what the season has to offer.
Top Holiday Tips for Caregivers
Avoid Burnout With Time Management
This may be difficult with the many holiday parties and social gatherings going on, but try not to schedule too many events one day after another. Give yourself time to rest when you feel like you need it. This may mean having to miss some events, but in the long run you’ll be doing what’s best for yourself.
It’s also important to be mindful of the one you’re caring for and their stress levels. Watch for and take note of any changes in personality or behavior. Unusual irritability and fatigue are key signs of holiday burnout. Keep their schedule light during the holidays, and don’t feel guilty about having to turn down the occasional invite from a friend or family member.
Don’t Let Shopping Create Stress
Shopping is an unavoidable expectation of the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Simplify the process by buying online from the comfort of your own home whenever possible. If you have multiple friends and family members to buy for, but are not sure what to get them, there’s no rule against getting them all the same thing. Find a great gift basket that anyone would enjoy, and buy one for multiple people on your list instead of stressing about what to buy for each individual person.
Don’t Try to Do Everything / Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
In past years you may have worked yourself to the bone preparing Christmas dinner for the one you’re caring for and up to 20 or so guests. Try to start a new tradition by getting others involved in the process, or perhaps having guests bring their own dishes potluck-style. At the very least, do not be afraid to ask for help when you genuinely need it. You’re only capable of so much, and friends and family members are usually more than happy to lend a hand during the holiday season.
Do Something Good For Yourself
Whether you realize it or not, as a caregiver you’re so busy meeting others’ needs that you end up neglecting your own. Enjoy a completely self-indulgent treat this season to reward yourself for the hard work you’ve been putting in not only during the holidays, but all year long. Think about what you’ve been longing for — maybe it’s a day at the spa, or laying in bed all day binge watching Netflix. Whatever it is, do “you” for a full day because you deserve it.
Effective time management can avoid stress and holiday burnout. Streamlining the shopping experience can lead to a much more pleasant season. Ask for help when necessary, and top off the season by doing something good for yourself. If you have additional holiday tips for caregivers, please share them in the comment box below.
Aging in place, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, refers to the ability of an individual to live independently in their own home and community. Being able to age in place also means living safely and comfortably regardless of age, income, or level of ability.
Aging in Place Means Planning Ahead
Planning ahead will prepare you for the challenges to come — challenges such as changes in your health, ability level, or social supports. In order to plan ahead you must start with the end goal in mind. Visualize what you want your lifestyle to look like as you get older, then work backward outlining the steps you need to take to achieve that goal.
Planning ahead means planning for the unexpected as well. It’s wise to have a fallback plan in case any unforeseen emergencies occur. This can include the sudden development of a chronic illness or disability, or a change in income. The more smart choices you make now, the greater control you will have over your independence and quality of life as you get older.
Here are the key things to consider as you plan for aging in place.
What to Consider as You Age in Place
The first thing to consider is your home, and whether or not it is equipped to meet the needs and challenges of someone who is aging in place. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- “What modifications are needed to help me remain safe in my home?” These can include stair lifts, ramps, emergency response systems, security alarms, and so on.
- “If I have to leave my home temporarily, who will maintain it in my absence?” Depending on where you live, there might be community services available. Otherwise, you’ll need to have some emergency funds saved away to pay for the services.
- “What are some alternative options if my home does not adequately serve my needs?” Consider the costs and whether or not you have enough money to move if you need to.
Aging in place does not literally mean staying in one place all the time. Getting out and becoming engaged in your local community is highly encouraged. You should learn as much as you can about the community you live in, because it could have a profound impact on your ability to age in place. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my community age-friendly?
- Does my community have supports and services in place to help me stay independent as I get older?
- Are there any neighboring communities that offer more of the supports and services I need?
- What kinds of government assistance are available where I live?
Having all the supports and services available at your fingertips means precious little if you don’t feel safe in your own community. Unfortunately, older adults are among the most vulnerable to fraud and financial abuse. To ensure your safety, ask yourself the following questions:
- How safe do I feel in my own community?
- Do I feel confident about being able to protect myself from fraud and financial abuse?
- What do I do if I feel as though my safety is being compromised?
Where to Find More Information about Aging in Place
Williams Lifts Company is dedicated to providing individuals with the equipment they need to maintain their safety and independence in their own home. We recommend looking into our stairlifts, ramps, and reclining lift chairs. For any other questions, you’re always welcome to contact us anytime.
Traveling is an arduous task for anyone, even those who travel frequently for work or pleasure run into stressful situations from time to time. When it comes to traveling with a wheelchair that stress is multiplied, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an enjoyable time.
Wheelchair travel can be made less stressful with proper planning. In this post we’re going to go over some of the most helpful tips wheelchair-bound travelers can follow to make their next trip go as smooth as possible.
Top 4 Tips for Wheelchair Travel
There’s no such thing as too much planning when you’re traveling with a wheelchair. If you have a destination in mind for your next trip, do your homework and look up as much information as you can about the location. Research how accessible the location is in general and make note of the spots that offer full wheelchair accessibility. This way, when you’re out sightseeing or grabbing a bite to eat, you’ll know exactly where to go.
With that said, it’s also a good idea to plan accessible routes to get to the places you want to visit. Before embarking on your trip, know where you’re going, when you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. This also applies to getting to your hotel from the airport. It’s a good idea to have transportation arrangements made in advance because there’s no guarantee there will be wheelchair accessible vehicles there for you.
Planes & Airports
A pro tip for wheelchair travel is to ask for a seat behind the bulkhead when booking your flights. These seats offer extra leg room, which makes getting in and out of your seat much easier. The majority of major airlines offer pre-boarding for passengers with disabilities, so getting on the plane should not be a hassle. Having a comfortable seat once you get on the plane is the major concern. It’s a good idea to book direct flights whenever possible, it will be a much more pleasant trip since you won’t be boarding and unboarding multiple planes throughout the day.
Another little known fact about wheelchair travel is that the airline will ask for the dimensions of your wheelchair, as well as what type of battery is in it (if it’s powered). Airlines need this information to determine whether or not your wheelchair will fit in the cargo hold. Have this information ready at the time of booking so you can provide it right away, instead of having to call back and complete the booking later. It’s also good to have this information on you while you’re at the airport, because you might be asked for it again when you check in.
When planning for wheelchair travel, it’s a must that your home base (i.e., hotel, Airbnb, etc.) be completely wheelchair accessible. Once you have decided where you’re going, make your hotel booking as soon as you can because it’s not uncommon for accessible rooms to get booked fast. If you’re unsure of where to book, look on some travel websites to see if any disabled travelers have left a review for the hotel. If you still have specific concerns in mind, there’s no harm in contacting the hotel by phone and asking them what you need to know. Ideally an accessible hotel should have a ramp at the front entrance, an elevator, and roll-in showers. If possible, opt for a hotel that’s relatively close to the places you will be visiting. This will make getting around the city a lot easier.
Have a Backup Plan
In addition to planning for what you expect to do on the trip, plan for the unexpected as well. What happens if your wheelchair malfunctions, breaks down, or just plain stops working? You don’t want to be stuck in that kind of situation without a plan, so keep those kinds of things in mind when planning your trip. To solve issues you might have with your wheelchair while traveling, it’s a good idea to bring a small repair kit with you. Also look into repair shops nearby that deal with mobility devices. We hope that’s not somewhere you’ll ever have to go on a trip, but it’s better to plan ahead than be stuck without a working wheelchair.
If there’s one takeaway to walk away with after reading this post it’s to have a well organized plan for your next trip. Traveling with a wheelchair doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you plan for everything in advance you’ll be prepared to make the most out of your trip. If you have any other tips for traveling with a wheelchair that we didn’t cover in this post, please share by leaving a comment below.
Mobility aids are typically reserved for one or two purposes: either the person needs them as part of a rehabilitation program when recovering from an injury, or they’re needed for long-term assistance when an individual has a difficulty with walking that’s more permanent.
Mobility aids are designed to perform one or more of the following functions:
- Allow for greater stability and balance through providing a wider base for support.
- Assist an individual with maintaining an even walking pattern.
- Help with maintaining an upright posture.
- Restore confidence in one’s walking ability.
- Redistribute weight carried by the legs to reduce joint and muscle pain.
In this post, we’ll provide information on the types of mobility aids that are available, beyond what’s available at Williams Lifts. We know you may need assistance throughout the day beyond what a stair lift and ramp can provide, and we want to help point you in the right direction.
Types of Mobility Aids
Walking sticks are well suited for those with slightly reduced balance. How it’s held will depend on the individual and whether they have one leg or one side stronger than the other. Walking sticks are available in metal, wooden, and folded varieties. There are even some walking sticks that can fold out in a seat so breaks can be taken when needed.
Tripod Cane and Quad Canes
These mobility aids are similar to walking sticks, but they have a three or four point base on the bottom for added stability. Because of this, they are able to stand on their own and are overall more stable than your standard walking stick. They are all made of some type of metal, usually aluminum or steel, and are fully adjustable thanks to spring-loaded catches on the shaft.
Crutches are usually used after being recommended by a medical professional. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend the use of crutches unless you have spoken with your doctor or another healthcare professional about it first. These mobility aids are designed to be used in pairs, which means you need good coordination in order to use them correctly.
These mobility aids are typically used by individuals with poor balance and/or weak legs. Walkers can transfer 64% of a person’s body weight throughout the arms of the frame, while a walking stick can only transfer 24% of the person’s body weight. Walkers are available in a wide variety of models, including models with 4 wheels, 2 wheels, or no wheels. For more information about walkers we recommend, please read our blog post on all the different types of walkers.
In addition to stair lifts, ramps, and power lift recliners, these are some of the major types of mobility aids available. If you’re still not sure which one is right for you, you can always visit a medical equipment supply store to try the various types of equipment for yourself.
Keep in mind that no matter what type of equipment you buy, regular maintenance of the equipment is highly recommended. We also recommend that you make sure your home is equipped for safe use of the equipment before bringing it home — that includes removing all potential hazards that might get in the way.
If you have questions about any of the mobility aids mentioned in this post, please contact us or leave a comment below.
A handicap parking permit can be issued to eligible individuals by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. You’re eligible to apply for a permit that allows you to park in handicap spaces if you have a permanent or temporary disability.
You Are Eligible to Apply for a Handicap Parking Permit If:
- You can no longer use one of your limbs, either because of paralysis, amputation, or another permanent disability.
- You cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other assistive device.
- You have a heart condition in which your ability to function is classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to standards set by the American Heart Association.
- You have an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition that limits your ability to walk.
- You are unable to walk 200 feet without needing to rest.
Types of Handicap Parking Permits
If you meet one or more of the eligibility requirements above, you can apply for either a permanent or temporary parking permit. These are easily identified with the permanent placard being blue, and the temporary placard being red. Keep in mind that before applying for a permit you must provide certification from a medical professional regarding your disability.
Here is some more information about the two types of parking permits:
- Temporary Parking Permit
Those with temporary injuries or disabilities are best off applying for a temporary permit. It’s important to note that when applying you must do so in person to your local New Jersey police chief, not at the Motor Vehicle Commission as many would assume.
To apply, you must submit a completed Application for Temporary Placard (Form SP-68). With this application you must include the certification from your medical professional. There is also a $4 fee involved with submitting the application.
The temporary permit is valid for six months. If after that time you feel as though you’ll still need the permit, you can apply for another temporary permit for another six months. To do this you will need to have your doctor re-certify your injury, complete another application, and pay another $4 fee. If you lose or need to replace your temporary permit for any reason you must contact your local police chief in order to do so.
- Permanent Parking Permit
Those with long-term disabilities are best off applying for a permanent permit. There are a few key differences between applying for a temporary permit and applying for a permanent permit. First off, the permit is issued by the Motor Vehicle Commission, not the local police chief. In addition, when applying for the permit you can do so either in person or by mail.
When you apply for a permanent parking permit you will also receive a “Person with a Disability” ID card, which is just as important to keep with you as the permit itself. To apply for the permit, you’ll need to submit The Application for Vehicle License Plates and/or Placard for Persons with a Disability (Form SP-41). With this application you’ll also need to attach the certification from your medical professional. If you’re applying for a wheelchair symbol license plate you will also need to provide a copy of your vehicle registration.
When everything is completed and put together, take it all to your local NJ MVC office or mail it to:
Special Plate Unit
P.O. Box 015
Trenton, NJ 08666
The benefit of applying in person is that you will receive the handicap parking permit on the same day. A mailed-in application could take up to 6 weeks to process.
Permanent permits are valid for up to 3 years. After 3 years you must renew your certification, which is completely free to do. All you have to do is get re-certified from your medical professional, complete another application, and submit it to your local NJ MVC office.
Applying for a handicap parking permit is so easy there’s no excuse not to do it. If you’re of limited mobility you deserve one of these permits to make parking one less obstacle in your life. If you have any other questions about how to apply for a handicap parking permit in NJ, please leave a comment below.
A handicap chair lift is designed to help you overcome obstacles in your home when your mobility is limited. That’s the literal definition, but it means so much more thban that to our customers. We can tell by the joy we see in our customer’s eyes once they realize they have regained the mobility they used to enjoy in the comfort of their own home.
A handicap chair lift can have various definitions depending on the individual. We sell several different types of chair lifts which all fall under the same category. These include: indoor straight stair lifts, curved stair lifts, straight stair lifts, and even power recliner lift chairs.
Throughout this article we will get you acquainted with the various types of chair lifts on the market so you can decide which one is right for you.
Straight Handicap Chair Lift
Straight chair lifts are typically what you would think of when you think of a chair lift. Essentially it is a motorized chair on rails that’s designed to comfortably move you up and down a straight set of stairs. The straight stair lifts we carry are from industry leading companies: Bruno and Acorn. Each have their own sets of features and benefits, so we recommend visiting this page if you’d like more information on straight chair lifts.
Curved Handicap Chair Lift
A curved chair lift is similar in function to a straight chair lift, but it is built to maneuver itself around curved railings. In fact, each one of our curved lifts is custom made to fit the exact dimensions of your staircase. Because the lifts are custom made, please expect a 4-8 week turnaround time after the initial measurements are taken. As with the majority of our lifts, we carry the brands Bruno and Acorn, which all come with their own unique set of features and benefits. Please see this page for more information about our curved lifts.
Power Lift Recliner Chairs
Technically falling into the category of handicap chair lifts is the power lift recliner chair. These are designed to help you regain the freedom and independence sitting down and getting up from your favorite chair without it being an obstacle in your life. Power lift recliner chairs ensure you won’t ever again have to worry about mobility when sitting down. Just kick back, relax, and the chair does all the work for you. Please see this page for more information about our power lift chairs.
No matter what chair lift you decide is right for your home, you can expect it to be expertly installed by our factory-trained technicians. For some added peace of mind, our chairs are backed by a manufacturer’s warranty, so you can expect to have a place in your home for a long time to come. If you have any questions about any of our chair lifts, please leave a comment below.
Featured Image Credit: By Xeror (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
There are many types of walkers available to assist those with limited mobility, but which one is best for you? How do you even know what to start looking for?
In this post we’re going to put together a checklist of questions you should ask yourself before choosing a walker, and then we’ll go over the various types of walkers available. From there you can make a decision about which one is right for you.