Article written by Patrick Young
On the hunt for a new home but struggling to find a suitably accessible space? Finding the right property can be extraordinarily difficult when you have a disability. Very few homes were built with people with disabilities in mind. As a result, there may be no properties available that currently suit your needs. However, there are upgrades and renovations you can make to an imperfect property to help make it right for you. This article will break down the best renovations for accessibility, as well as cover potential costs and help you gauge the best options for you.
Basics to Start With
There are a few fundamental features you should look for in a home. Primarily, you want to make sure you find a home that can be renovated to meet your needs. For example, a split-level home is probably never going to be the right fit for someone in a wheelchair. Although you could conceivably install an elevator, the way the levels split may get in the way of feasibility.
These fundamentals will depend mainly on your needs. If you struggle with stairs, for instance, consider looking only at single-level homes. If you have a wide mobility aid, avoid homes with lots of narrow doorways or hallways. Keeping these basic features in mind will help you to find a home that has the right kind of potential.
If you use a mobility aid or otherwise face difficulty getting around, it’s important to ensure you always have a safe surface to walk on. Carpeting can present a problem for many mobility aids and can also create a tripping hazard. However, removing carpeting and installing hardwood floors is a relatively simple process, so don’t skip a home just because of the carpet.
The cost of installing hardwood can vary pretty dramatically based on different details of the project. A single room will be less expensive than a whole home, obviously, but other elements come into play, too. Some materials, such as pine or bamboo, can save you some money on installation. The area you call home, necessary repairs to the subfloor, and the removal of furniture can also increase the cost of this project.
If you’ve fallen in love with a multi-level home, you don’t have to give up on the dream necessarily. However, you will need to think critically about how to make the space safe and comfortable to get around in. There are options that you can turn to that will help.
For example, you might consider installing a stairlift. These are chairs you can sit in that will bring you from one level to another. These also have the advantage of being relatively easy to install and remove without making major structural changes to the home.
This is a great option for people who have light mobility aids that they can hold while they’re ascending or descending, or those who have multiple mobility aids and can designate them to different levels. These also have the advantage of being relatively easy to install and remove without making major structural changes to the home.
If you’re not in these two groups, however, you may need to consider installing an elevator. These are bigger projects and are usually much pricier (as much as $40,000, compared to a stairlift’s $5.000). However, they can provide easy access to every floor in your home.
For many people with disabilities, bathrooms can be a tricky and dangerous space. Trying to use a bathroom made for able-bodied people can lead to serious slips and falls, which can lead to injury and even death. That’s why it’s important to get the appropriate renovations done to the bathroom you’ll use in your new home. While a full-scale remodel can run up to $26,000 in Gig Harbor, there are more affordable options such as adding a big sit-in shower with a movable showerhead. This allows you to rest comfortably while you get clean, and easily reach everything you need without practicing your contortionist routine. For an extra touch of luxury, consider pairing the removable head with a ceiling rain showerhead.
You should also install plenty of grab bars in the bathroom to make the space as safe as possible. Even without needing to step over high tub walls, wet floors will always create a hazard. Having grab bars installed can be a lifesaver in a tricky situation.
These are just a few of the upgrades that can make a home more accessible for many people with disabilities. However, what works well for one person may not be a good investment for another. Remember: Your individual situation will always be your best guide. Consider reaching out to your local disability services or a medical professional to get advice. They can help you figure out exactly what you need to make a home as safe and easy to navigate as possible.
Article written by Patrick Young
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Those of us who live in Western Washington are hearty souls. A little rain doesn’t hold us back from zipping on a raincoat, putting on a hat and gloves and venturing into drizzle to enjoy the great outdoors. If it did, we would never leave home. Many of us who live here don’t mind the rain, because it keeps everything green and beautiful. We also tend to appreciate being outside. With that being said, there are days that call for a little variety. In addition, if you have little ones who can’t regulate their temperature quite as well as adults can, you can only stay outside for so long before fingers turn icy and purple. So, sometimes, it is nice to have a warm place to go, to experience something new as a family and burn off some energy. Here are some ideas!
- BoomShaka — http://www.boomshaka.us/ This place just opened up a few months ago in Tumwater, Washington and everyone is talking about it! It is even fun for adults, so wear your workout clothes and get some exercise too! Save yourself from disappointment and buy your tickets in advance through the website. $13-$20/person, adults free with a children’s ticket, and under age 2 free.
- Escape Hour — http://www.escapehourgigharbor.com/ People are raving about another new Gig Harbor attraction, Escape Hour. Groups are given clues and participate in solving a mystery to “escape” the room they are locked in. This activity is better for families with older kids. 10 is the minimum age for group bookings, though the website specifies this activity is recommended for ages 15 and up. There are many times to choose from throughout the day to book your next escape. $25 – $30/person.
- Bass Pro Bowling Alley http://restaurants.basspro.com/UncleBucksFishBowl/Tacoma/Bowling.aspx Just off of I-5 in South Tacoma, this “under-the-sea” themed bowling alley is state of the art and a fun atmosphere to experience. There is also plenty to look at if you like shopping. $25-$35/hour per lane + shoe rental of $3.25/person.
- Ice Skating at Sprinker Recreation https://www.facebook.com/SprinkerRecreationCenter/ Sprinker Recreation has been around for decades. I remember skating there as a kid in the 1980’s. It is even more awesome now – during Winter, they actually make it snow, and while researching for this blog, I found out they are having a snowman making contest on January 15th 2017 for teams of up to 10 for $20/team. Skating is available by session, and there is even a cheapskate session, where it is $6.84/person. Regular prices are $10.94 for adults, $9.85 for ages 6-17, $8.75 for seniors over 62 and kids 5 & under are free. Skate rentals are $3.01/pair, with sizes from 6 toddler to men’s 15. Walkers for holding onto are $3.28. The link above has up-to-date information and schedules.
- Pump It Up — https://www.pumpitupparty.com/tacoma-wa/other-ways-to-play/ Do your young children have energy to burn? This is the place! Not only is Pump It Up a great place to have a birthday party, but it is wonderful place to drop in on a rainy day and let your kids jump, climb and slide to their hearts content. Located in Tacoma, near the mall off of 38th Street. Bubble open jump for toddlers – $5, Open jump for all kids – $8, Glow jump pizza party, including 2 slices pizza – $10. Check online for schedules.
- Seattle Science Center — https://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/ A little further from Gig Harbor, this fascinating and educational museum is a special way to spend a day that the whole family will enjoy. With rotating exhibits and special events, including an IMAX theater, check on the website to plan your visit. It is always fun to take the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle for a memory-filled day. Admission for 3-5 year olds – $11.75, Youth 6-15 – $14.75, Adults 16-64 – $19.75, Seniors 65+ – $17.75.
- Indoor Bocce at Reinhaus – http://rheinhausseattle.com/ Located in the Stadium District in Tacoma! Indoor bocce courts are available by reservation or walk-in. An average game for four people lasts about 1/2 hour. You can also enjoy a wide variety of beers on tap, and brats. You can reserve a court for $25, or the walk-in price is $5/person Monday-Thursday and $8/person Friday and Saturday. Bocce courts reserved as part of a large party package: $50/hour unlimited people (maximum of 8 people at a time on the court) for one hour.
- Discovery Village – http://www.discovery-village.com/Locals love this indoor play center that caters to preschool age children and toddlers. It is a clean and open space where parents and caregivers can relax with a cup of coffee while watching little ones play. They have open play in addition to a preschool and birthday parties. This place was a lifesaver when I was pregnant and needed to sit down while my kids burned some energy. Open play is from 10-3 daily and costs $8.50 for ages 12 months to 10 years, and siblings are $6. You can also purchase a membership which will save you money if you plan to go there often, and membership comes free with preschool admission.
- Children’s Museum of Tacoma
- Children’s Museum of Olympia
- Chalet Bowl
- Narrows Bowl & Mini Golf
- Edgeworks Indoor Rock Climbing
- Rolling 253 Skate Rink
- Imagination Station — http://www.imaginationstationenrichmentcenter.com/hours-of-operation This drop-in play center is located in Port Orchard, Washington and is best for toddler, preschool and early elementary-aged children. Currently they are only open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for drop-in play, but be sure to check the website first as hours are always changing.
Take the first exit off of the Narrows Bridge and fall in love with this charming, well-maintained craftsman home in an ideal Gig Harbor/ Point Fosdick location.
The home is within minutes of the Narrows Bridge and the Uptown Shopping Center yet in a peaceful setting surrounded by beautiful farms, waterfront homes and a nearby boat ramp. Striking wood floors, arched doorways, crown molding, a stone fireplace and classic style help bring a special elegance that warms the heart. The peaceful outside setting also has much to offer with a detached, over sized, two-car garage connected to a large outdoor covered work area. Recent upgrades include a new electric forced air furnace, new crawl space insulation, new washer and dryer, new garage roof and new interior paint. All appliances included. This is truly a special property that you won’t want to miss.
The home also offers a very private, fenced yard, gardening space, a beautiful outdoor brick fireplace, large deck, covered patio, paved driveway/sport court with pickled ball net and paddles and a beautifully landscaped yard.
We are excited about this fun event coming up in February! What a great way to treat your Valentine to a unique “date night”!
This fun event gives you the opportunity to sample NW wines, brews, spirits and small bites at “Stroll Stops” along the downtown Gig Harbor waterfront. Don’t feel like strolling? There is complimentary shuttle transportation to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door and you get a tasting glass, 15 sip tickets and a map to guide you to the “Stroll Stops”. The registration area and wine store with bottled wines featured on the Stroll will be located at 3104 Judson Street (next to 7 Seas Brewing). Parking will be available at the Methodist Church on Pioneer and throughout the downtown waterfront area.
For more information contact the Downtown Waterfront Alliance at 253-514-0071 or visit Gig Harbor Wine & Food Festival on Facebook.
You can purchase tickets on line at http://bit.ly/wintersipandstroll