We are finally really considering a remodel for our son and hope to do it in a way that can accomodate his needs throughout all stages of the disease, or at least in a way that would be easily adaptable in the future (only 7 years at the moment and doing very well still, even with stairs). Can any of you who have done this advise us on an optimal size for bathroom and bedroom. A new bedroom downstairs with h/c bathroom is in the plans. Also we were originally thinking of an elevator leading to 2nd story, but to only half of the upstairs rooms in terms of wheelchair access (too difficult/costly to make all upstairs accessable). Now we are thinking of a stair lift instead, but without elevator that may mean very limmitted access to upstairs down the road and less independence in going upstairs. One thought is that when that time comes for a wheelchair he wont mind being on a different floor from where we sleep and that he wont be wanting to go upstairs anyway. However, I dont want him to feel excluded by creating a situation where he can not access upstairs. In truth most of the living happens downstairs..ie his new room, the kitchen, family room, den, outside access (really only bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs). Another question is whether the upstairs floors need to reinforced to accomidate the weight of a power chair or if regular construction standards are suficent for that. Any other tips would be appreciated. thanks
carrie

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Roland and I just spent 3 nights at Church camp where we stayed in a handicap hotel type room. It had a very large open bathroom with shower. However one thing I noticed about it that is different from the bathroom we built for Roland is the location of the toilet. Handicap accesible toilets are designed with bars on the wall next to the toilet. In the bathroom we built for Roland we did not put the bars on the wall because Rolad was already needing help getting on and off the toilet from us and not able to use the bars. His toilet is more in the center of the wall which makes it easier to get him on and off the toilet with the Hoyer Lift and also easier to assist him when he is on the toilet. The bathroom we used this weekend was close to the wall and while not imposible, it was just a little harder to use the lift and help him. Just a thought when you are designing a bathroom.
Hi Carrie,

If you go back and review the past threads on this subject you might find good answers and more. But, since I have a BA in Interior Design I will give this a try. Basically, you need to allow his new bedroom to have a 5 foot diameter space unobstructed for wheel chair/scooter turn around, then plan where to place his bed, dresser, windows, door(s)...His bed should have at least 3 feet on each side (or at least 1 side) unobstructed, dresser should open easily with light drawers (our's are made of rattan instead of heavy plastic or woods) and dresser should have enough clear space in front to allow for circulation using a scooter. Door and faucet handles should be lever type instead of the twisting kind. If you can, install automated doors like the ones you see in public buildings. Door swings (unless you use sliding doors) are a consideration since they take space. Picture in your head, functioning in his room & bath while riding a scooter and using a lift. Include enough room for parents or an assistant to move about. Download measurements for the lift and scooter, place the width & length of these things into your measurements. I always start a room on paper, making a sketch of a square then enlarging it to fit your requirements. Electrical outlets should be higher on the wall than standard and light switches should be lower. Reasonably, everything within reach of a person using a wheelchair or scooter. Think of electrical requirements of equipment, build in a "parking stall" with outlet for recharging power chair. All flooring surfaces should be hard, no carpets but you could use flat type rugs. Think of having an emergency exit he can easliy access in his room. Make sure your chair lift or elevator has back-up power if the lights go off sometime as they do. Make his room temp warmer than the rest of the house.

It is possible to find bathroom sinks that move up and down a wall, check with your contractor or plumber. Have clear space (no storage) under the sink to allow scooter wheels. You can press a button and the sink will go up a few inches as your mobility equipment changes & as he grows. Install a "walk-in" shower/tub unit. Or, a hoyer mounted above a jacuzzi tub is great for dmd boys. Medicine cabinets should be lower than regular. Toilets should have clear space to access on one side with grab bars within reach. Grab bars should be in shower/tub throughout.

We had an OT come to our 2 story and examine things. He gave solid advice and said a chair lift isn't great because you must eventually use a Hoyer to get him in and out of it. A small elevator is much better but try to incorporate the kind that has 2 entry/exit points so that he doesn't have to back up the scooter constantly and make sure the footprint (floor dimentions) fits the average scooter & power chair.

We have decided to install an elevator in the future. We want our son to have accessability to all parts of the house. Don't know about other boys but Alexander surely would want to make it to the room hardest to reach although he is already in a downstairs bed/bath.

You will need a qualified contractor, architect or structural guy who specializes in ADA compliance. They will tell you about the reinforcement issues, if you have any. Most newer homes that are 2 story should be able to accomodate the weight of a scooter without any problems. Our scooter's weight is a mere 60-ish lbs.

I could go on and on...please feel free to ask questions anytime.
cheryl
Hi Cheryl, my name is Ana Smith, my son Austin is 9. I think maybe I could probably use some advice from you. lol....
We just got our diagnoses about 6mo after buying our house 2yrs ago. Austin is just about to get his first power chair. It is a chair that will go into a standing position. We have a3bdrm, 2ba, with kind of narrow hallways. Austin shares his room w/my step son who is also 9, and our two 13yr old girls share the other. This of course will make it hard adapting when Austin needs more medical equip. Right now we do not have any hand rails or anything, he is still able to do most things on his own, if not, I help him.
If you have any advice about how we maybe could do some modifications, w/out spending a fortune, it would be great.

Thanks

cheryl cliff said:
Hi Carrie,

If you go back and review the past threads on this subject you might find good answers and more. But, since I have a BA in Interior Design I will give this a try. Basically, you need to allow his new bedroom to have a 5 foot diameter space unobstructed for wheel chair/scooter turn around, then plan where to place his bed, dresser, windows, door(s)...His bed should have at least 3 feet on each side (or at least 1 side) unobstructed, dresser should open easily with light drawers (our's are made of rattan instead of heavy plastic or woods) and dresser should have enough clear space in front to allow for circulation using a scooter. Door and faucet handles should be lever type instead of the twisting kind. If you can, install automated doors like the ones you see in public buildings. Door swings (unless you use sliding doors) are a consideration since they take space. Picture in your head, functioning in his room & bath while riding a scooter and using a lift. Include enough room for parents or an assistant to move about. Download measurements for the lift and scooter, place the width & length of these things into your measurements. I always start a room on paper, making a sketch of a square then enlarging it to fit your requirements. Electrical outlets should be higher on the wall than standard and light switches should be lower. Reasonably, everything within reach of a person using a wheelchair or scooter. Think of electrical requirements of equipment, build in a "parking stall" with outlet for recharging power chair. All flooring surfaces should be hard, no carpets but you could use flat type rugs. Think of having an emergency exit he can easliy access in his room. Make sure your chair lift or elevator has back-up power if the lights go off sometime as they do. Make his room temp warmer than the rest of the house.

It is possible to find bathroom sinks that move up and down a wall, check with your contractor or plumber. Have clear space (no storage) under the sink to allow scooter wheels. You can press a button and the sink will go up a few inches as your mobility equipment changes & as he grows. Install a "walk-in" shower/tub unit. Or, a hoyer mounted above a jacuzzi tub is great for dmd boys. Medicine cabinets should be lower than regular. Toilets should have clear space to access on one side with grab bars within reach. Grab bars should be in shower/tub throughout.

We had an OT come to our 2 story and examine things. He gave solid advice and said a chair lift isn't great because you must eventually use a Hoyer to get him in and out of it. A small elevator is much better but try to incorporate the kind that has 2 entry/exit points so that he doesn't have to back up the scooter constantly and make sure the footprint (floor dimentions) fits the average scooter & power chair.

We have decided to install an elevator in the future. We want our son to have accessability to all parts of the house. Don't know about other boys but Alexander surely would want to make it to the room hardest to reach although he is already in a downstairs bed/bath.

You will need a qualified contractor, architect or structural guy who specializes in ADA compliance. They will tell you about the reinforcement issues, if you have any. Most newer homes that are 2 story should be able to accomodate the weight of a scooter without any problems. Our scooter's weight is a mere 60-ish lbs.

I could go on and on...please feel free to ask questions anytime.
cheryl
Hi Ana,

In order for me to be of assistance I would need a little info, how wide and long are the narrow hallways you mentioned? Is there a chance when you remodel your home that this remodel will provide a sepreate bedroom & bath for Austin? How about an extra modest bedroom for your step son? If not, you need to add enough square footage to the existing bedroom to provide space for both boys and including necessary scooter/chair equipment. The best way I know of to save $$$ on remodeling is to make due with what you already have as long as Austin's quality of life and safety are not at risk. If one or both are at risk then you either need to move or remodel in my humble opinion. One can install grab bars and lever handles on doors and faucets for little money but is that going to be enough for him at the stage he is now?

cheryl

Ana said:
Hi Cheryl, my name is Ana Smith, my son Austin is 9. I think maybe I could probably use some advice from you. lol....
We just got our diagnoses about 6mo after buying our house 2yrs ago. Austin is just about to get his first power chair. It is a chair that will go into a standing position. We have a3bdrm, 2ba, with kind of narrow hallways. Austin shares his room w/my step son who is also 9, and our two 13yr old girls share the other. This of course will make it hard adapting when Austin needs more medical equip. Right now we do not have any hand rails or anything, he is still able to do most things on his own, if not, I help him.
If you have any advice about how we maybe could do some modifications, w/out spending a fortune, it would be great.

Thanks

cheryl cliff said:
Hi Carrie,

If you go back and review the past threads on this subject you might find good answers and more. But, since I have a BA in Interior Design I will give this a try. Basically, you need to allow his new bedroom to have a 5 foot diameter space unobstructed for wheel chair/scooter turn around, then plan where to place his bed, dresser, windows, door(s)...His bed should have at least 3 feet on each side (or at least 1 side) unobstructed, dresser should open easily with light drawers (our's are made of rattan instead of heavy plastic or woods) and dresser should have enough clear space in front to allow for circulation using a scooter. Door and faucet handles should be lever type instead of the twisting kind. If you can, install automated doors like the ones you see in public buildings. Door swings (unless you use sliding doors) are a consideration since they take space. Picture in your head, functioning in his room & bath while riding a scooter and using a lift. Include enough room for parents or an assistant to move about. Download measurements for the lift and scooter, place the width & length of these things into your measurements. I always start a room on paper, making a sketch of a square then enlarging it to fit your requirements. Electrical outlets should be higher on the wall than standard and light switches should be lower. Reasonably, everything within reach of a person using a wheelchair or scooter. Think of electrical requirements of equipment, build in a "parking stall" with outlet for recharging power chair. All flooring surfaces should be hard, no carpets but you could use flat type rugs. Think of having an emergency exit he can easliy access in his room. Make sure your chair lift or elevator has back-up power if the lights go off sometime as they do. Make his room temp warmer than the rest of the house.

It is possible to find bathroom sinks that move up and down a wall, check with your contractor or plumber. Have clear space (no storage) under the sink to allow scooter wheels. You can press a button and the sink will go up a few inches as your mobility equipment changes & as he grows. Install a "walk-in" shower/tub unit. Or, a hoyer mounted above a jacuzzi tub is great for dmd boys. Medicine cabinets should be lower than regular. Toilets should have clear space to access on one side with grab bars within reach. Grab bars should be in shower/tub throughout.

We had an OT come to our 2 story and examine things. He gave solid advice and said a chair lift isn't great because you must eventually use a Hoyer to get him in and out of it. A small elevator is much better but try to incorporate the kind that has 2 entry/exit points so that he doesn't have to back up the scooter constantly and make sure the footprint (floor dimentions) fits the average scooter & power chair.

We have decided to install an elevator in the future. We want our son to have accessability to all parts of the house. Don't know about other boys but Alexander surely would want to make it to the room hardest to reach although he is already in a downstairs bed/bath.

You will need a qualified contractor, architect or structural guy who specializes in ADA compliance. They will tell you about the reinforcement issues, if you have any. Most newer homes that are 2 story should be able to accomodate the weight of a scooter without any problems. Our scooter's weight is a mere 60-ish lbs.

I could go on and on...please feel free to ask questions anytime.
cheryl
thanks cheryl and holly, youve both been quite useful. Id love to hear others opinions too.
Carrie,

My son Kevin Smith and his wife Jackie have done a remodel for their son Zachary. You might contact them for some thoughts and suggestions. One of Kevin's presentations at the PPMD conference concerned this topic. They made changes in his room which included wood floors as this makes it much easier for the necessary equipment that Zach must use. Also, his wheelchair moves very well on it. They have wood and tile floors in most of their house which is great for Zach. they have remodeled a bathroom that is absolutely awesone. It meets all of Zach's needs. I could describe it all for you, but I believe that Kevin and Jackie can answer your questions much better than I. We will keep your son as well as all others in our prayers.

Loretta Smith
Hi
I think you can access Kevin's presentation from the 2009 PPMD conference. I watched it and it was great. We built from scratch 3 years ago. The bathroom is the part you need to get right to make your life easier in the long run. Make sure you can heat it independently. The guys get so cold and having a "sauna" makes it more doable. I like having a lot of counter space for cleaning the bipap and urinals. We have a sink with a tall spicket so that I can get a bucket under it.
Best of luck, Karen

Loretta Smith said:
Carrie,

My son Kevin Smith and his wife Jackie have done a remodel for their son Zachary. You might contact them for some thoughts and suggestions. One of Kevin's presentations at the PPMD conference concerned this topic. They made changes in his room which included wood floors as this makes it much easier for the necessary equipment that Zach must use. Also, his wheelchair moves very well on it. They have wood and tile floors in most of their house which is great for Zach. they have remodeled a bathroom that is absolutely awesone. It meets all of Zach's needs. I could describe it all for you, but I believe that Kevin and Jackie can answer your questions much better than I. We will keep your son as well as all others in our prayers.

Loretta Smith

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