How to Make a Lakeside Cottage Handicapped Friendly

Aug 1 08:14 2012 Yvonne Crooker Print This Article

In order to make a house or cottage accessible, and easier to enjoy, for physically disabled people, some renovations will need to be made. Imagine yourself with a walker or wheelchair and you will start to see what you may need to do to permit a handicapped person to enjoy life more fully.

“The old man turned 98.  He won the lottery and died the next day…Well,Guest Posting life has a funny way of sneaking up on you…Isn’t It Ironic?” Alanis Morissette

When I was 32, and moved to our little cliff dwelling on Lake Road, I had no problems digging holes, laying stone walls, or carrying buckets of water up 18 steps from the lake for the flowers. It was great fun! In fact, almost everyone on the road worked in their gardens, fixed up their cottages, walked up and down the road, and swam in the lake. We were all hail and hardy! But, what do you do when you become handicapped?

Over the next 15 years, my neighbors aged and their lifestyles changed. Some of them quit working all year and started going to Florida in the winter. Some of them sold their cottages and moved away. Some of them got bigger and better riding lawn mowers. And, my older friend, Marge, quit walking down her steep steps and sitting by the water. It was hard for me to realize why she couldn’t just hang on to the railing.  She was missing out on all that fun we had floating with our neighbors on hot summer days. How naïve I was.  Or it may be I was just oblivious to her aging and weakening legs.

Then my parents started giving me the same kind of reluctance to navigating my 18 steps. (I gave them some slack as they were 87 and 91!) And then it was my turn. The ALS that I was stricken with in six years previously finally affected my legs. Suddenly I understood so much! So I retired-but now I’m the one who can’t get down to and enjoy the lake. How ironic…

I was unfortunately amazed at all of the things that were difficult or impossible with a walker or wheelchair.  And so began our quest to make our home handicap-friendly. Some updates were easy-some were costly. Some of these renovations may be helpful at your cottage, especially if a family member, close friend or you become handicapped, but still want to enjoy your cottage at the lake.

The issue: Walker/wheel chair little wheels sink into a gravel driveway---------Create a  hard surface landing pad to get in vehicles at a ramp or create a hard flat surfaced driveway.

The issue: A handicapped person cannot lift his/her feet or roll the walker or wheelchair up the steps --------Build ramps outdoors, level the inside floors, install an electric chair lift between floors and even down to the shore. 

The issue: Walkers and wheelchairs do not fit through narrow openings or tight turns, found in many older homes ------- Doorways need to be made wider, or walls may need to be totally reconstructed .

The issue: The person finds it too difficult to get around inside/outside the home -------invest in a power chair or scooter.

The issue: It is difficult to bend over and lift heavy cookware out of lower cabinets------ Install a pot rack so that pots and pans hang at a convenient height.

The issue: The wheelchair does not fit conveniently at the table or desk ----- Use a wheeled office chair, which a companion can easily move around when needed .

The issue: The person finds it difficult to push a walker and lift his/her feet across the carpet and throw rugs -----Remove throw rugs and consider replacing carpet with hard wood floors.

Life’s daily activities are challenging to a person with handicaps.  Enjoying a lakeside cottage can be even more challenging.  In order to make a house or cottage accessible and easier to enjoy, some renovations will need to be made. Imagine yourself with a walker or wheelchair and you will start to see what you may need to do to permit a handicapped person to enjoy life more fully.

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Yvonne Crooker
Yvonne Crooker

Yvonne Crooker is the author and can provide more information about kitchen organization with strong and handsome stainless steel and wrought iron kitchen accessories, including wine racks, pot racks and counter stools, at Pot Rack Place. Yvonne is a retired school administrator who now devotes her time to her creative talents, including decorating, and writing, as well as her on-line business.  Click through now to discover the charm and convenience of metal kitchen accessories at http://www.potrackplace.com.

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