Monthly Archives: November 2013

Checklist for Home Modifications: Products to Keep You Safe and Secure

Checklist for Home Modifications: Products to Keep You Safe and Secure

For those who are disabled or aging in place, safety and security in their homes is of utmost importance. United Disabilities Services offers a checklist for assessing a home modifications project. 

To assist those who are looking for home modification products, UDS has created a checklist for determining how accessibility needs can be met through home modifications. These needs may be solved simply by use of grab bars and shower seats or more complex solutions may require a complete shower or bathtub replacement. UDS recommends discussing specific needs with a qualified contractor and using this checklist to identify the appropriate products available.

Specific Bathroom Items:
•  Swing-out doors
•  Non-slip floors
•  Grab bars
•  Reinforced walls (i.e. 3/4″ plywood backing throughout) for installation of grab bars
•  5′ square clear area (required for most wheelchair users to make a 360 degree
turn). Since many wheelchair users can function in smaller areas, measure exact
clear floor space if less than 5′
•  Chair-height racks/shelves/cabinets
•  Lever handled faucets
•  Lowered or tilted mirror
•  Roll-under vanity top
•  Hinged, fold-down seat in shower
•  Roll-in shower with no curb
•  Hand-held or adjustable shower head
•  Bathtub with nonskid strips or surface
•  Half-Height Caregiver Doors
•  Toilet seat 17″- 19″ from floor; or wall mounted toilet
•  Telephone outlet

General Considerations:
•  A ground-level entrance clear of any major obstructions that would accept a ramp
with a slope no greater than 1″ height per 12″ in length
•  At least one large bathroom with a 32″ clear door opening and clear 5′ x 5′ floor
turnaround space
•  Wide doorways (32″-36″ clear width)
•  Wide hallways (42″-60″)
•  Low-pile carpeting with thin padding or smooth surfaces
•  Chair-height (48″-54″)* doorbell/mailbox
•  Chair-height electrical controls/outlets (excluding the kitchen, generally controls are
•  6″ lower and outlets are 6″ higher than standard)
•  Chair-height push-button telephones/jacks
•  Accessible, easily operated window controls, i.e. slide to side can be opened with
one hand or less than eight pounds of pressure, located 24″-28″ from floor
•  Audio and visual smoke detectors
•  Large windows, overhead lighting or several electrical outlets in each room (Lighting is a big consideration for persons with low vision)

*Note: Chair-height is defined as how far a person using a wheelchair can
reach. Using a front approach, chair-height for a person using a wheelchair
is approximately 48 inches. Using a parallel approach, chair-height
is about 54 inches.

When engaging a contractor to make home modifications, consumers should check their references and look for specific home modification experience. A contractor who is certified in home modifications is the best selection for an accessibility solution.

United Disabilities Services has been working with home modifications for the disabled, veterans and those aging in place for many years. With deep expertise and experience in the home modifications field, UDS now offers an eStore with products that have been evaluated by the UDS team for use in home modifications. The UDS eStore can be found at