» Introduction

Accessibility At Home is dedicated to sharing information and ideas for creating an accessible home. Thanks to our eldest son, Patrick, "the webmaster," we were able to create this site. We are a family of six. The youngest member of our family, Chris, was born with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spine. In his case, he is essentially paralyzed from the waist down. Shortly after he was born, it just so happened we moved to the Chicago area. We figured all we needed to do to accommodate Chris was to buy a ranch style house and build a ramp to the front door. The home we purchased was built in 1950 and at first blush seemed as though it would be fine. However, as Chris began to grow and use his wheelchair, we quickly discovered we had to make major changes.

Our first approach was to consult with a company that specializes in accessible modifications. We learned of the company at a disabilities expo. It was eye opening to realize the many shortcomings of our house and the costs involved in remedying them. For starters, the doorways and hallways were too narrow and the bathrooms were too small. We initially remodeled one of the bathrooms to include a roll-in shower. Then we decided to plan for an addition that would be the accessible part of our house. The more we explored the addition, the more we realized it would be expensive and would be only a partial fix for Chris.

Then, with some good advice and luck, we were presented with the opportunity to raze our existing house, sell one of two lots it sat on, and build a new 2-story house with an elevator on the remaining lot. This was a huge undertaking and we hit several bumps along the way, but in the end we have a house where Chris feels at "home." We learned a lot during our odyssey toward an accessible home, but we are by no means experts. We realized, to our surprise, that there really wasn't a centralized body of information for those wishing to make their home truly accessible. So, we created this site to share what we have learned and to facilitate the sharing of what others have learned. We do not and will not make money with this site. We have not and will not receive any remuneration from any persons, companies, entities mentioned by us in our site.

Some suggestions to keep in mind before you wander into the site are:
  1. make a note of the daily routines of the person for whom you seek to accommodate
  2. start a three ring binder to make it easy to add and remove ideas
  3. plan for the future eg. we had the electrician install the electical panel with the highest reach being 50 inches so Chris can access the circuit breakers when he is older