How Ramps Provide Easier Access for the Elderly, People with Mobility Issues & Wheelchair Users

Getting a ramp installed outside an office, a retail store or another location opens the business up to a greater number of visitors. People suffer from difficulties with mobility due to accidents or deformities preventing easier movement because they have a disability, they’ve gotten older and find steps difficult, or because they’re in a wheelchair.

It’s incumbent on companies to provide easy access for all types of people, whether they find it easy to get around or need adjustments to be made to facilitate their access. Adding a ramp in front of an office building or for a retail store makes getting inside (and outside again) less troublesome. If there were to be a fire in the building, a ramp becomes a vital point of safety for wheelchair users and other people who would otherwise need to get down steps quickly.

Here are some examples of where installing a ramp is useful.

Easily Access to the Home or Premises for the Elderly

When we get a bit older, getting around isn’t the easiest. One of the worst problems is having to raise each leg to get up steps. It often causes hip pain for older people with painful joints either just from age or ailments like arthritis. Proving either an alternative to getting up the stairs or replacing steps entirely with a sturdy ramp is considerably better.

Any business that has customers over fifty years of age could be losing them if they don’t offer the option of a ramp to enter and exit their retail store. Offices with drop-in customers of a similar age would do well to make building access easier. And at home, there’s no question that the addition of a ramp is safer than trying to get down outdoor steps, especially when it’s recently been raining.

Ramps made by National Ramp are available in wood, steel or aluminum. Wooden ramps are modular, so they can be built in place to conform to the shape of the building or extend from a deck at the back of the property too. Aluminum ramps provide a mesh surface that keeps a secure footing and is completely recyclable. Steel ramps are perhaps the best ones with a darker appearance and a modular design. Both the railings on aluminum and steel ramps are weld-mounted for better stability compared to when attaching with bolts from the side.

Provide a Walkway from the Overlook to the Beach

Some beaches have overlooks beyond the parking lot that let visitors look over the sand to the sea while enjoying the view. There are seating areas and sometimes picnic tables to sit at while chowing down on something tasty and taking in the sea breezes. The steps down to the beach level, which is often considerably lower than the overlook because of the raised parking area above the sand, is often a bit of an afterthought with urban beachside planning.

Adding a steel or aluminum ramp connecting the overlook to the beach makes light work of providing better access. A pathway made of stones along or across the beach also provides a way for wheelchair users to get deeper into the beach area without getting stuck in the sand.

A steel or aluminum ramp provides regular access to the beach. The steel ones tend to be solid pieces where small items cannot slip through. Longer-lasting aluminum ramps may have a mesh design where kids might accidentally drop their toy car and a parent will need to fetch it. Wooden ramps are another option to make it look more natural in the surroundings. The same can be said for ramps used in wooded national parks too.

Ramps with Hand Rails to Help People with Mobility Issues

Many of us have mobility issues at one time or another. Sometimes it’s a permanent issue with a leg, hip or foot problem which makes it challenging to walk and get around. Visitors might have had a recent operation which is temporarily limiting their mobility until they’re fully healed. Or, it could be a veteran who was injured while on deployment and now uses an artificial leg that attaches below the knee.

In all the above instances, a ramp is useful when using the steps is difficult or impossible. However, it’s the handrail that’s most beneficial when they’re unsteady on their feet. Certainly, a flat surface that a pair of sneakers can get some purchase on works well here. But with mobility problems, it’s not always a continuous thing – sometimes, people lose their balance suddenly and without warning. Having a ramp with handrails on either side that can be held onto while walking or reached out for when losing balance suddenly provides reassurance.

The better ramps use a welded system with cone mounting for handrails, which provides greater stiffness to the result. Most ramps add handrails on the side that have bolts to attach them. The latter can work loose gradually over time causing a wobbly handrail which defeats the object. Look for a welded version where possible.

Wheelchair Access to More Areas

With the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its subsequent revisions, its beholden on companies, stores and venues to provide reasonable access for wheelchair users. While it’s possible that older buildings weren’t designed with doorways wide enough to accommodate wheelchair access, usually at least one doorway can be widened.

Along with doorway access, being able to roll up a ramp right into the reception area of an office building or inside a retail store expands the potential customer base while also adhering to the law by providing access to everyone. Failing to do so opens the organization up to a potential complaint as well as perhaps some bad press or social media brouhaha.

Ramps make excellent use of wasted space. They improve access and avoid people with mobility problems from potentially hurting themselves outside the premises. Almost every building should have a ramp to provide access to everyone.

Comments

What Next?

Recent Articles