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Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

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Home Modification

Home Modification

The world isn’t flat or paved, of course, and for the most part no one was thinking about people using wheelchairs or walkers when they designed all our buildings. But things are changing as disability activists -- joined by the largest ever U.S. generation as it heads toward its senior years – have pushed to open up access to all people, including those with spinal cord injury, paralysis or mobility problems.

There are laws now about making schools, transportation, housing, public accommodations and the sidewalks in every city fully accessible. For most people, though, access has more to do with getting in the house, working in the kitchen, using the bathroom.

Home modification could be as simple as a doorknob that’s easy to work, a grab bar in the right place, or a ramp to get in through the back door. It may involve a wider door, a special sink or the installation of an elevator. It gets as complicated as any architect can make it.

The Home Modification links (click on the Resources tab at the top of this page) connects to resources to help people assess their needs, weigh their many product options and locate contractors to make their home accessible.

AbledataProvides a helpful guide: Informed Consumer's Guide to Accessible Housing.

Accesibilty Equipment Manufacturers AssociationCompanies that make elevators, lifts, stairway chairlifts and similar products.

Adaptive EnvironmentsPromotes accessibility as well as universal design through education programs, technical assistance, and design advocacy so that every individual, regardless of disability or age, can participate fully in all aspects of society.

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Assistive Technology - Environmental Controls (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Home Modifications (PDF)

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)Spotlights universal home design.

Concrete ChangeThis Atlanta based agency works to make homes accessible to all. Minimum standards include: at least one entrance with zero steps, 32-inch door passages and bathrooms on the main floor.

Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental AccessDedicated to improving the design of environments and products by making them more usable, safer and appealing to people with a wide range of abilities, throughout their life spans. IDEA provides resources and technical expertise in architecture, product design etc.

eHow.comHow to Make Simple Wheelchair Accessibility Modifications to Your Home

Disability SystemsStrong, reliable and portable wheelchair ramps for your handicap access needs. These wheelchair ramps are all aluminum and will last longer than wood or steel. Handicap ramps include folding, threshold, utility, solid, portable, bariatric and side door van ramps and rear door van ramps for all your access solutions.

Home Free HomeHome Free Home is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing pro bono architectural design services to people who need to remodel their homes to accommodate a disability.

InvacareInvacare Corporation manufactures and distributes home medical equipment (HME) and mobility products for people with disabilities and those requiring home health care.

Wheelchair-accessible House PlansOur wheelchair-accessible house plans feature sloping walkways to the main entrance, wider doorways, interior passages and closet doors, lever-style hardware, and convenient heights for things such as thermostats and light switches. Search our inventory of wheelchair-accessible house plans to find the right one for you!

The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home ModificationAssists the elderly with information of services. Features national directory of home mod resources.

The Ramp ProjectView a detailed, step-by-step instruction manual on how to build ramps and stairs for home accessibility along with the accompanying engineering drawings.

The Right SpaceAlbert M. Ayala is a publisher and building contractor in Central Arizona. When his mother, at age 89, fractured her tibia and came to live with him and his wife, he began looking for an accessible home design guide for building and remodeling contractors. What he found was an enormous amount of text referencing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He found no easy-to-understand residential guide.

WheelchairNet: Home ModificationsJust what does it take to make a living space accessible? Are you thinking about a child who will grow up in a house or a parent who is just beginning to use a wheelchair in their home? Maybe you as a wheelchair user would like to make everyday life in your home easier and more enjoyable. Regardless, you will find some helpful resources here.

Paralysis Resource Center The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

Reeve Foundation Online Paralysis Community Connecting people living with paralysis, families, friends and caregivers so we can share support, experience, knowledge, and hope.

Quality of Life Grants DatabaseFind resources within the PRC Quality of Life Grants Database. Search by Zip Code, State or an Entire Category.

Library Books and VideosFind resources within the PRC library catalog.

  • Email our Paralysis Information Specialists
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  • Call our Paralysis Information Specialists
  • Newly paralyzed or spinal cord injured? Start here.
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Paralysis Resource Guide

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The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90PR3002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship areencouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.