Summer Safety Tips for Seniors: How to Enjoy Summer While Avoiding Heat Stroke
As people get older, the summer weather becomes more unforgiving. It’s important to become aware of the health risks associated with extreme heat in order to stay safe and, most importantly, enjoy summer.
Since we are entering one of the hottest months of the year, this is as good a time as any to go over some recommended summer safety tips for seniors. In this article we will explain how to conquer the heat, avoid health risks, and have fun during the last stretch of the summer season.
Summer Weather Safety Tips for Seniors
Keeping your body hydrated is one of the most essential summer safety tips for seniors. This is due to the fact that people perspire more in warm weather. It’s important to be mindful of the amount of fluid you’re consuming. You can maintain healthy hydration levels by consuming at least eight glasses of water a day.
If plain water doesn’t do it for you, flavored water is just fine. Sports drinks like Gatorade are also an effective way to stay hydrated. Not all fluids are created equal, however, as some can increase your risk of dehydration.
I’m referring to alcoholic and caffeinated beverages – they are diuretics, which deplete your body of fluid. Keeping those types of beverages to a minimum can lower your health risks in the summer. If you choose to have a drink, or a couple cups of coffee, add a some extra glasses of water to your day.
Dress for the Weather
Dressing for the summer weather is kind of a balancing act. On one hand, you don’t want to wear so much that it causes you to overheat. On the other hand, you don’t want to wear so little that it increases your risk of sunburn.
Shorts with short-sleeved shirts are perfectly acceptable, but don’t forget to cover your head as well. Hats with extra wide brims, also known as sun hats, can help protect your head, face, and neck from getting burned.
When combined with UV-protective sunglasses you can beat the heat and look fashionable while you’re at it. I bet you didn’t expect these summer weather safety tips to include fashion advice as well.
Take precaution in the summer by wearing sunscreen on exposed skin. Aim for sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30 – the higher the better. You can also take precaution by staying inside during days that are unseasonably warm.
If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, look for somewhere that does. Malls, movie theaters, senior centers, or the homes of friends and family are all good options.
Worst case scenario, if you do not have air conditioning and are unable to leave the house, you can lower your body temperature by taking a cool shower or bath.
Summer Safety Tips for Seniors: Conclusion
This concludes the list of summer safety tips for seniors. Even if you follow my advice and take every precaution, you could still be susceptible to heat stroke on extremely hot days.
If you experience symptoms like a headache, nausea, dizziness, increased heart rate, flushed face, and high body temperature you should seek help immediately. If you’re prone to experiencing dizziness in warm weather, see our guide on mobility aids.
Heat stroke is serious, so you can never be too careful. Stay safe and enjoy the rest of summer!
Chair Yoga Poses for Seniors: 8 Easy Exercises to Help you Stay Active
When you think of yoga, do you think of young people bending their bodies past what should be their natural limits? If so, then you might be surprised to learn yoga is something that can be practiced by everyone.
Yes, everyone. It can even be practiced in a chair by those with limited mobility. It’s called “chair yoga.” In this article we will go over the benefits of chair yoga, some examples of chair yoga poses for seniors, and wrap it all up with some tips for a chair yoga routine.
Benefits of Chair Yoga
All the benefits of yoga exist with chair yoga. Restricted movement doesn’t mean restricted benefits. When practiced regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle, chair yoga can improve overall health and mental well-being.
Here are some benefits of chair yoga which may be of particular interest to seniors with limited mobility:
- Improved Strength: A stronger body will improve one’s ability to withstand the effects of aging and help to sustain fewer injuries.
- Improved Flexibility: Greater flexibility can improve one’s ability to extend themselves beyond what they were previously capable of. This can help when it comes to doing things like tying your shoes or picking things up.
- Improved Proprioception: Proprioception is one’s ability to accurately coordinate movement based on the sense of where their body is in space. Greater proprioception can help prevent trips and falls.
- Reduced Stress: Chair yoga leads to a sense of calmness, which inevitably leads to feeling more relaxed and improved overall mental well-being.
- Less Pain: Regular chair yoga can improve one’s ability to cope with pain. Yoga forces you to focus on your breath, which you’ll find can improve your ability to cope with the pain of an injury or illness.
- Social Opportunities: If you’re looking for an excuse to get out and meet new people, look into gyms around you that offer chair yoga classes or yoga classes for seniors.
Chair Yoga Poses for Seniors
In this section we’ll go over some of the most very basic chair yoga poses for seniors, which everyone of nearly all mobility levels should be capable of doing.
When performing each of these poses, focusing on your breath is key. Controlling your breath will allow you to control the pose and eventually hold it for a longer period of time.
Also be sure to stay focused on your spine when performing these poses. Keeping your spine rigid and straight will ensure your are practicing the pose safely and effectively.
With all of that said, here are some examples of chair yoga poses for seniors.
- Extend arms straight into the air
- Press palms together, forming the tip of a candle
- Hold for 30 seconds
Raised Hands Pose
- Extend arms straight into the air
- If possible, extend legs forward as well
- Hold pose for 30 seconds
Forward Bend Pose
- Extend arms forward
- Bend down, keep back straight
- Try to touch toes, if possible
- Hold pose for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times
Forward Bend Pose With Shoulder Stretch
- Bend forward
- Extend arms back
- Grip fingers together and hold stretch for 30 seconds
- Repeat 3 times
Extended Side Angle Pose
- Keep back straight
- Reach right arm down toward right foot
- Hold pose for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times
- Repeat for left side
Seated Spinal Twist
- Turn body to left side
- Try to stretch until your torso is perpendicular with the back of the chair
- Hold pose for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times
- Repeat for right side
- Put palms behind you on seat of chair
- Raise hips until body forms a solid straight line
- Hold pose for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times
- Extends arms and legs outward (forming a star)
- Hold pose for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times
The examples of chair yoga poses for seniors described above can be combined to create your very first chair yoga routine. Practice as often as you feel you can. If the poses start feeling “too easy”, try holding them for longer periods of time or extending your range of motion.
For more information about limited mobility exercises, we recommend reading some of our previous articles:
Wheelchair Accessible Vacations & Beaches: Inspiration and Travel Planning Tips
Spring and summer will be here soon, which means vacation time! A vacation is synonymous with hassle-free relaxation. Truth be told if you’re traveling with an individual with special mobility needs, keeping your vacation as relaxing as possible requires careful planning up front.
Without doing your homework on where you’re about to go, and the best attractions to see while you’re there, you could end up traveling to a location that isn’t equipped to meet mobility needs.
The good news is wheelchair accessible vacations, including wheelchair accessible beaches, are easier to plan for than ever before. We believe every stage of your vacation should be as hassle-free as possible, even the planning process. So we’ve gone ahead and done the research to find you the top rated wheelchair accessible vacation spots available.
Whether you want to travel abroad, stay within the United States, or just stay in New Jersey, we’ve got you covered. There’s a mix of everything on this list of wheelchair accessible vacations, so get your passport ready, you’re about to get the travel inspiration you’ve been looking for.
Wheelchair Accessible Beaches
When people think of going on vacation, many automatically think of going to the beach. Fortunately, the number of wheelchair accessible beaches is on the rise in large part due to specialized beach wheelchairs.
Wheelchair accessible beaches allow the individual to use one of these specialized wheelchairs to not only enjoy the sandy shores, but go right into the water’s edge itself. It’s also becoming more common for beaches to offer beach wheelchairs on-site, meaning it’s not something extra you’ll have to travel with.
You won’t necessarily have to go far to enjoy wheelchair accessible beaches. Avalon and Stone Harbor beaches right here in New Jersey offer beach wheelchairs by reservation, with wheelchair accessible boardwalks to enjoy them on. In addition to their beach accessibility, Avalon and Stone Harbor host several events throughout the summer, offering a great combination of relaxation and entertainment!
If you’re looking to travel a little further than NJ, Hanauma Bay and Kailua Beach Park in Honolulu, Hawaii, offer beach wheelchairs at no extra charge to vacationers with special mobility needs. Hanauma Bay offers two beach wheelchairs available for those who make a reservation in advance. Both wheelchairs have large balloon tires available and you can wheel them right into the water. Hanauma Bay also offers a tram that can take people using wheelchairs from the parking lot to the beach area.
If Hawaii is on your bucket list, make sure to check Honolulu’s official website for a complete list of wheelchair accessible beaches in the area.
Another state known for its gorgeous beaches is California. The state is also particularly accommodating to those with special mobility needs. Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla, all in San Diego County, are all wheelchair accessible beaches with beach wheelchairs available on-site. Ocean Beach not only has accessible parking and bathrooms, but it also offers beach wheelchairs to their patrons. Downtown Ocean Beach, which begins at the southern end of the beach, has a plethora of clothing boutiques, antique stores, cafés, restaurants, and bars.
San Diego has done an extraordinary job turning its beaches into wheelchair accessible vacations, which are visited by people from all over the country. If California sounds appealing, make sure to check their comprehensive list of accessible beaches in San Diego.
Wheelchair Accessible Theme Parks
Another popular vacation destination is theme parks, and many of them are exceptionally accommodating to those with special mobility needs. Disney theme parks in particular have built a reputation on going above and beyond to accommodate those in wheelchairs with everything from accessible ride passes, ramps to the top attractions, accessible on-site resorts, and accessible shuttles to and from the parks. For wheelchair accessible vacations that include theme parks, we recommend looking no further than what Disney has to offer.
Wheelchair Accessible Museums & Historical Sites
For the traveler who wishes to take in some of the world’s finest in history and culture, many world-renowned museums are outfitted for those with mobility needs. Here are some ideas for wheelchair accessible vacations that include museums and historical sites.
Not far from New Jersey is the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which offers offers tours specifically for individuals with mobility needs. Feel like grabbing a bite afterwards? There’s a wheelchair accessible Shake Shack on 86th street, about half a mile from the museum. Beautiful art and delicious burgers on the same trip? Sounds like a great trip!
For those looking to travel abroad, London, England offers some highly accessible attractions such as the Tate Modern Museum and the Science Museum. Believe it or not, Stonehenge is one of the few historical sites in the world that offers wheelchair accessible paths for visitors.
Who can forget about Paris, France, which is home to one of the world’s most famous museums. Of course, we’re talking about The Louvre. This museum is wheelchair accessible, though it’s not immediately obvious upon entering. You’ll have to make sure to ask for an accessibility map, which will point you toward all of the accessible paths and elevators throughout the building.
Whether you’re planning a vacation around enjoying scenic beaches, exciting theme parks, or taking in some world history, there are many options for wheelchair accessible vacations available to you.
Wheelchair Maintenance Checklist
Having a wheelchair maintenance checklist makes it easier to stick to a regular maintenance routine, which is paramount for keeping a wheelchair in good condition. With regular maintenance you can prevent accidents and/or malfunctions caused by improper care of the equipment.
In this post we will provide you with an easy-to-follow wheelchair maintenance checklist, which we recommend referring to or passing along to your care provider in order to ensure your safety while extending the longevity of the wheelchair.
Wheelchair Maintenance Checklist: General Recommendations
Here is a list of general recommendations for day-to-day use of your wheelchair:
- Before getting out of the wheelchair, make sure brakes are locked. If using a powered wheelchair, turn the power off before exiting. This will prevent slips and falls that could come from accidental movement of the wheelchair.
- Do not carry heavy loads on the back of the wheelchair. This could put unnecessary strain on the chair by exceeding the maximum weight capacity, and even cause the chair to tip over.
- This should go without saying, but do not let children play with the wheelchair. A wheelchair is not a toy, and that message should be made clear. Also don’t let them ride on the footrests or battery case, as there’s a high probability they will break if you do.
- Avoid caster flutter, which is something that can happen if the wheelchair moves side to side at high speeds. It’s recommended that you replace casters as soon as possible if they flutter.
- Wheelchairs do not hold up well when in contact with moisture, therefore it’s recommended to use wheelchair snow tires in the winter and cover up any electronic components if using a powered wheelchair.
Wheelchair Maintenance Checklist: Individual Parts
Here is a list of recommendations for individual parts of a standard wheelchair:
- Check for screws protruding from the armrest padding.
- Check the detachable arms and make sure they’re secure, but not overly tightened.
- Check that adjustable-height arms firmly lock into place.
- Check arm locks and make sure they are fully functional.
- Check side panels for sharp edges and ensure fasteners are tightened.
- Check material for rips and tears.
- Check the nuts and bolts which secure the material and make sure they are tight.
- Check for other damage which may be present in the back brace joints or safety belts.
- Make sure the headrest is working properly.
- Check tire pressure.
- Check wheel locks to make sure they securely grip the wheel and adequately prevent the wheelchair from moving.
- When checking wheel locks, make sure the rubber tips are present and not damaged.
- Wheels should spin straight without any wobbling.
- Make sure spokes are tight and that there are none missing.
- There should be no gaps between the rims and tires; hub caps should be securely in place.
- Check for any other noticeable signs of wear in the wheels. This includes spinning them to make sure they turn smoothly.
- Check for bending on the sides and stem of the forks and retaining mechanisms. The stem should be firmly attached to the fork.
- Check for signs of excessive usage in the stem bearing, casters should not flutter at high speeds.
- Bearings should not be excessively wobbly. Felt washers and/or string guards should always be present.
- Check caster housing by rolling the chair on a level surface. If the wheelchair veers off more than a foot in a 10 foot distance then check for signs of damage. This could include improper alignment of housing on the frame, as well bent forks and stems.
- At no point should there be grease leaking from the wheel axles or joints.
Foot and Leg Rests
- Check the locks and make sure they’re fully functional.
- Check the footplates and make sure they’re stable at any angle.
- Engage the footrest length-adjustment mechanism and make sure it is functioning properly. Check the adjustment rod for any scratches, as scratches could lead to malfunctions.
- Check for any other signs of excessive wear on the foot rests, including the foot rest bumpers.
A wheelchair is just like any other vehicle or personal transportation device — regular maintenance is required to ensure optimal functionality. It’s best if you can get into a regular maintenance routine, such as picking one day out of each month to check your wheelchair from top to bottom. It may sound like a chore, but keeping this checklist by your side will help to speed up and streamline the process.
At Williams Lifts we offer small ramps to overcome large obstacles.
Thresholds can pose a significant obstacle for most wheelchairs — which include anything from a difference in ground level, to stairs, to entrances, to gaps in concrete, and so on. These can often be handled with the use of small ramps.
Within the category of small ramps you have portable ramps, which you can fold up and take with you; threshold ramps, which are the smallest of portable ramps and modular ramps, which are stationary and built to stay in place.
Overcoming any threshold needn’t be a difficult and bumpy process. There are many sizes and types of small ramps available, which can be put anywhere and ordered custom just for you.
Here is some more information about each of the types of small ramps we carry.
Types of Small Ramps
Portable Ramps – Available in 2″ – 8″ lengths
Portable wheelchair ramps are designed for those who are on-the-go and frequently find themselves in need of the assistance of a ramp. These ramps fold up for easy storage and transportation, giving you the peace of mind that you can conquer any threshold as you go about your day. Williams Lifts offers the absolute best in class portable wheelchair ramp: the SUITCASE® Signature Series™. The innovative design enhancements of the new Signature Series features a no-pinch, non-protruding full-length live hinge, and durable, ergonomically designed handles. Simply put, these portable ramps have been built from the ground up to be the best in the industry.
Modular ramps are stationary ramps; meaning wherever they’re built is where they’ll stay. They cannot be moved from place to place like portable ramps. However, one of the great benefits of modular ramps is that they can be customized to specifically fit your doorways or entrance ways. Modular wheelchair ramps are equipped with a non-skid surface on stainless steel hardware. The seamless connections between the ramp and the platform is built to support a 1000 lb weight capacity. We strictly carry aluminum ramps that are fully made and assembled in the USA.
When it comes to wheelchair ramps it doesn’t get any smaller than the threshold ramp. These ramps are built to give wheelchair users a slight boost over entry ways, sidewalks, raised landings, and so on. Our threshold ramp is considered by many to be the most effective product we offer, making it easier for NJ residents to get around or in and out of their home. The EZ-ACCESS® Modular Threshold ramp is a lightweight yet durable free-standing ramp available in 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 inch heights. Again, just like all ramps we carry, it is made strictly out of aluminum.
For more information on the multiple styles of small ramps we carry, please feel free to fill out the contact form on the right side of the page. We look forward to listening to your specific needs and providing you with the best possible handicapped equipment for your home or office.
Wheelchair Ramps for Homes
Wheelchair ramps for homes are an ideal solution for maintaining independence in your own home. Williams Lifts is happy to offer a full selection of wheelchair ramps to suit everyone’s mobility needs.
With customer satisfaction being our highest priority, we only offer the highest quality wheelchair ramps for homes. What sets us apart from other companies is our unmatched 60 years of experience. This experience includes installing ramps on the inside and outside of homes, which means we can build and install quality ramps that are built to last without being permanent.
Many homeowners choose to forego the option of dealing with professionals, and attempt to build their own wheelchair ramps. We can’t stress how dangerous that is. When building a ramp yourself, there’s no assurances of the level of quality. If the ramp is not installed properly, it could cause a serious accident. Saving a few dollars on a DIY (do it yourself) wheelchair ramp is not worth the potential hazards it creates.
If cost is a concern, please keep in mind we also offer used wheelchair ramps for homes at a reduced cost. The only used ramps we carry are ramps that were originally purchased from us, which ended up being bought back from customers. We know the exact history of where these ramps have been, how they’ve been used, whether they have been maintained, and so on.
With that being the case, we are confident in the quality of our used wheelchair ramps.
The models of wheelchair ramps carried by Williams Lifts are all the same whether you’re looking at buying new or used. Here is some information about each model.
Wheelchair Ramps – About Our Models
We offer wheelchair ramps in a variety of styles and materials. Here is an overview of the models of wheelchair ramps we offer:
- Portable Ramps: Ramps available in 2 to 8 inch lengths, ready to take with you when you need them.
- Modular Ramps: These are an excellent choice when accessibility needs extend beyond the scope of a portable ramp.
- Threshold Ramps: A lightweight yet durable free-standing ramp designed for doorways, sliding glass doors and raised landings.
- Foldable Ramps: A solution for residents in wheelchairs who need assistance getting from room to room or up and down a couple of steps.
- Pathway Ramps: Designed for those who are looking for easier access to enter or exit their homes.
Quality Wheelchair Ramps on a Budget
If the model of wheelchair ramp you need is out of your budget, we have one more option available to you. Williams Lifts is happy to offer ramp rentals, which is a particularly appealing option for those on a strict monthly budget. For a low monthly payment you can have your choice of ramp delivered to you as soon as you need it. If you decide you want to keep the ramp, you can apply 50% of your rental payments towards the purchase.
More Information About Wheelchair Ramps
When you buy or rent one of our wheelchair ramps for homes, we take care of the delivery and installation so you don’t have to worry about anything. Our technicians are trained to install wheelchair ramps within hours without damage to your existing stairway.
If you’d like to learn more about our used wheelchair ramps, please call us today for a free estimate or brochure at 908-219-6847.
Building a Wheelchair Ramp
When it comes to building a wheelchair ramp, we always recommend leaving it in the hands of professionals. Ramps are a mobility device, but above all they are meant to ensure one’s safety while getting from one place to another. Not having your wheelchair ramp built by a professional could mean you’re seriously compromising the safety of the ramp.
With this article we hope to educate you about how our technicians go about building a wheelchair ramp. This article is not meant as a DIY tutorial of any sort, its only aim is to provide an inside look into the process of building a ramp.
Building a Wheelchair Ramp: ADA Guidelines
One of the first things to know about building a wheelchair ramp is that you cannot just build a ramp however you wish. Ever since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established in 1990, ramp builders have had to follow a set of standardized guidelines which makes ramps safe for everyone. We have written an article that explains ADA guidelines in more detail, which you can read here.
Individual User Specification
Our team doesn’t build one-size-fits-all ramps. Our ramps are built for the specific person who is going to be using it. We can do this by taking the time to get to know our customer and learn what they’re looking for in a ramp. During this process we also take appropriate measurements of where the ramp is going to be installed. This will ensure we build a ramp that’s not only safe and sturdy, but one that will fit in well with the overall design of your home.
Ramps can be built out of a variety of materials, including: aluminum, wood, steel, or concrete. Concrete is on the highest end of the spectrum and by far the most expensive. The only places where you’ll tend to see concrete ramps are outside or inside public buildings, where they will remain for decades to come. Wood is the most inexpensive way to build a ramp, but for reasons that have been well documented we do not deal with wooden ramps at all. Williams Lifts specifically deals with building wheelchair ramps out of aluminum due to the fact that it is so durable and aluminum does not rust. .
After gathering all the data we need for building a wheelchair ramp that’s right for you, we can get to work building it on the outside of your home or in your garage. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’ll have people working in your house all day. After building the plan for your wheelchair ramp, our experienced technicians can have it installed within a matter of hours. We pride ourselves on speed of service, but never leave until the customer is satisfied. After completing an installation we will go over the important points and safety tips with you.
Our entire process for building a wheelchair ramp — from consultation to installation — can be completed within days. You won’t be waiting around weeks or months for the wheelchair ramp you need today. Please get in touch with us today for a free estimate.
Photo Courtesy: mateoutah
Summer is here! Want to spend time with friends and family? No problem. Want to go out and enjoy some sun when and where you feel like it? That’s just one of the many benefits of having a temporary ramp this season.
On a beautiful summer day you shouldn’t have to be confined to your home while your friends and family are out enjoying the day. We understand that when you’re of limited mobility it’s difficult to muster up the confidence to leave your home and go out for the day. What happens if you run into a location that ends up being inaccessible? There’s no worse feeling than not being able to access a location because it’s not equipped to meet your needs.
A temporary ramp can make inaccessible locations into accessible locations. Simply fold out the ramp and install it where you need it, then pick it up and pack it away when you’re done with it. Temporary ramps are a breeze to take with you, as they are lightweight and can be folded up for easy storage and transport. You will have the freedom you deserve whenever you need it.
At this point it’s important to note that temporary ramps are no substitute for a permanent ramp solution. If you require a ramp at your home for day-to-day use you should not rely on a temporary ramp because it’s not built for that. They’re not meant to withstand the heavy usage that they would be put through if they were used at your home every day, but they are built with durability in mind to be sure. In fact, they can support an over 800 pound weight capacity.
Temporary ramps, also known as suitcase ramps, are available in the lengths from 2 feet to 8 feet and come with some innovatively designed features. The ramps we carry were built from day one to be the best temporary ramps in the industry. From the no-pinch, non-protruding full-length live hinge, to the ergonomically designed handles, to the enhanced extruded tread for superior traction; we’re sure the ramps will meet needs you didn’t even know you had.
Temporary Ramp Specifications
- Made of aluminum
- Non-skid surface
- Built-in carrying handle
- Usable size 2′ x 30″, 3′ x 30″, 4′ x 30″, 5′ x 30″, 6′ x 30″, 7′ x 30″, 8′ x30″
- Folded size (L x W x H) 24″ x 15″ x 3¾”, 36″ x 15″ x 3¾”, 42″ x 15″ x 3¾”, 48″ x 15″ x 3¾”, 60″ x 15″ x 3¾”, 74″ x 15″ x 3¾”, 86″ x 15″ x 3¾”
- Weight (lbs.) *11, 17, 23, 29, 34, 41, 47
- Weight capacity (lbs.) 800
- For wheelchairs & scooters
*Weights are approximate and may vary. Consult your equipment’s owner guide for proper degree of incline. Never exceed its recommendations.
How do you know if temporary ramps are right for you? Well that’s simple. If you cannot bear to be cooped up inside during the spring and summer months, but are held back by your limited mobility, a temporary ramp might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Residents of NJ can contact Williams Lift today for more information on their portable ramps. Have Williams Lift install your handicapped equipment today by qualified trained professionals who will also teach you how to use the ramp correctly.
Handicap Ramps: Aluminum vs. Wood
Handicap ramps can help those with limited mobility regain their freedom to move around with ease. When shopping for a ramp you’ll notice they’re made using either aluminum or wood. Which one do you choose? In this post we’ll go over some of the pros and cons of each so you can make the decision that is right for you.
Aluminum or Wood Handicap Ramps?
We understand if at first you’re lured in by the low cost of wooden ramps; but as they say you get what you pay for. There’s no doubt wooden ramps are some of the most affordable on the market, but that savings comes with some caveats. Aluminum ramps are moderately priced, but as we go through this list of pros and cons you’ll see that it’s because your money is going toward a quality product which is built to last longer than wooden handicap ramps.
When we’re talking longevity we’re talking about how long the ramp is going to last you in the long run, provided you’re doing your part to keep it in shape with routine maintenance. Aluminum ramps are built to last the longest; as they are resistant to rust and only require the occasional touch up. On the other hand, wooden ramps require constant maintenance as they need to be regularly treated with a wood sealer. Wood has the potential to last a long time, but you have to consider whether or not it is worth the maintenance process you’ll have to go through on a regular basis.
Another thing a lot of ramp buyers don’t consider is: what if you want to move to a new home in a few years? Is your ramp going to be able to travel with you? One of the greatest benefits of aluminum is that if you move, you can take all or part of your aluminum wheelchair ramp with you. You can also add to it or shorten it as necessary. Wooden ramps cannot be adjusted or modified once built, making them extra difficult to travel with if you move locations.
When it comes to handicap ramps there is perhaps nothing more important than safety. So how does wood fair versus aluminum in this category? One of the greatest dangers with wooden ramps is the fact that wood rots. Also, during the winter months moisture can accumulate on top of the wooden ramp causing it to freeze.
Aluminum ramps are susceptible to accumulating an ice film as well, but this can be mitigated in a couple of ways. First, if you add a non-skid surface to your aluminum ramp you will increase its safety. Second, if you opt for an open-pattern ramp then rainwater and snow will just pass through, avoiding any chance of it freezing. Finally, if there’s a fire in the home you have to keep in mind that a wooden ramp will catch fire in no time. Aluminum is not exactly built to withstand heat, but it should be more reliable than a wooden ramp in the event of a fire.
The look and feel of a ramp is important, as it will be a fixture of your home that you will use every day. We can’t speak for all companies, but our handicap ramps are built to be ADA-compliant, meaning all safety considerations are taken into account when building and installing the ramp. In addition, aluminum ramps are designed with adjustable support structures, meaning they can be easily realigned if needed.
We understand when you’re in the market to buy a new handicap ramp you’re more likely to consider how it is going to benefit you now. However, we ask that you consider the long term value of your investment. If there comes a time when you no longer need the ramp, it’s important to know there is a market for used aluminum ramps. Good luck trying to sell a used wooden ramp, as you’re unlikely to find a market for one.
If you couldn’t yet tell after reading through this post, we are strong advocates for aluminum ramps. In fact, that’s all we carry. To get an idea of the types of aluminum handicap ramps available to you we encourage you to contact us for a free brochure.
Wheelchair Ramp Slope
Ramps which are designed with an improper wheelchair ramp slope can turn a personal safety device into a dangerous piece of equipment. One of the most common safety issues you may run into with permanent ramps are inclines which are uneven and/or too steep.
Portable ramps are also susceptible to problems associated with wheelchair ramp slope. Sometimes the ramps are designed too short, which results in an overly steep slope. Other times the slope can be uneven, which can make the ramp unstable and dangerous.
A safe ramp is one that is stable, built firm, has slip-resistant grips, and clearly marked warning indicators. In this post we will go over more about wheelchair ramp slope and the considerations associated with various types of ramps.
Types of Ramps and Wheelchair Ramp Slope
In general, a ramp is safer and easier to use when it has a lower slope. The accepted best practice is that 1″ of rise requires 12″ of ramp. If you’re picturing that in your head right now it probably sounds like an exceedingly low slope. However, in practice you’ll find that even a 1″ slope on a 12″ ramp can be challenging for most wheelchair users. Here are some other general considerations for each type of ramp.
Modular & Permanent Ramps
The design of permanent ramps are subject to local building regulations, which vary depending on whether the building is residential or commercial. The minimum requirements, according to building codes in the United States, are that every inch of rise requires 1 foot of ramp.
Since portable ramps are designed to be used when needed, and removed when not, there are no rules and regulations which dictate the length or slope of a portable ramp. Although it goes without saying that any ramp which is too steep is going to be challenging and unsafe to use. According to ramp manufacturers, the recommended best practice is for portable ramps to be built with 2 inches of rise for every 1 foot of ramp, making it twice as steep as a permanent ramp.
Other Considerations for Wheelchair Ramps
Slope is just one of several considerations to take into account if you’re either building or shopping for a wheelchair ramp. Here is an overview of other considerations for wheelchair ramps.
- Ramp Length: While ramps can be built to any length a user desires, regulations dictate that no single section should be longer than 30 feet in length.
- Ramp Width: A ramp can be built as wide as required. The recommended width for accommodating most wheelchairs and walkers is 36″.
- Ramp Landings: The landings of permanent ramps must be level at both top and bottom. This could mean integrating the landing into the design of the ramp, or installing the landings on a porch or patio.
- Ramp Railings: Regulations dictate that a ramp must have railings or barriers if a ramp run has a rise greater than 6″, or a horizontal protection greater than 72″.
Slope is one of the most important considerations for wheelchair ramps. If you want to ensure your wheelchair ramp is built and installed to meet every safety requirement, look into our ramp installation services.