Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ramps and Renovations

... and what they can mean to people like us.

If you were working on a crossword puzzle, and read the clue "A four-letter word for freedom" I'm sure you'd scratch your head for quite a while before you came up with the word ramp, but for anyone with impaired mobility, a ramp is exactly that. Freedom. The same can be said of lowered counter tops, and other types of home renovations. All can mean greater freedom for those of us with a disability, or at the very least, a greater sense of comfort and control.

Every house on our street (most built shortly after WWII) use a common style of architecture where the main floor is elevated above the ground, requiring one to climb at least a couple of steps to allow entry. There is a practical reason for this, as it turns out. We happen to live in an area of the country which receives a lot of rain throughout the year. In fact, springtime flooding is not at all uncommon. That said, what is practical for one situation is not always practical for another, and for the disabled, steps simply are not practical. They are a significant barrier to many of us.

The simplest solution, aside from having someone carry you in and out (yes, I'm joking) is a ramp. One might also consider an electric lift of some kind, and indeed there are a few situations where a lift is a better choice, but I still have to go with the low-tech ramp as my structural enhancement of preference. They have no moving parts, are generally sturdy enough to last for years, and require little or no maintenance. They also allow you to "age in place" within your current home, a definite plus.

Almost any general contractor can probably build you a ramp, but I have seen (and used) more than a few ramps over the years, and in my humble opinion, if you're going to build a ramp, have it done right the first time. A poorly designed and constructed ramp is not only a waste of your money, it's a danger to yourself and to others.

Ordinarily, finding a good carpenter would be a hit or miss kind of proposition, but we in the Toledo area enjoy a considerable advantage here. Allow me to introduce you to Accessible Renovations, Inc. With over 30 years in the construction and renovation business, they bring a level of expertise and professionalism to their craft that must be seen to be appreciated. Do visit the website for a look at their online photographic portfolio. Never have I seen a better marriage of form and function. They build ramps, of course, but they also handle just about any other home renovation you might need... and their motto says it all, "Barrier-free solutions for better living."

Disclosure time. I never receive goods or payment in exchange for my mention of a product or company in this blog. My reviews are a result of investigation and personal experience. In this case, Accessible Renovations are currently designing a ramp for my home, and it is due in part to this personal experience that I make the glowing statements that I do. If you need a ramp or other home renovation, give them a call. I'm betting my reputation, right along with theirs, that you won't be disappointed.

'Nuff said.

So what does one do if you need a ramp, but lack the necessary funds to have one built? Thankfully, if you live near Lucas County, you can contact The Ability Center of Greater Toledo. Since 1997, The Ability Center has completed over 400 home accessibility projects (e.g. wheelchair ramps and bathroom modifications) using government grants totaling more than $1.5 million. You can apply for a ramp or bathroom modification under their grant program by completing a downloadable application from their website, or you can call them at 419-885-5733 (voice or TTY) or toll-free at 866-885-5733.

Oh, and if you do call either of these fine organizations, please tell them about this Blog. I'm sure they'd love to know where you heard about them. Thank you. :)


  1. Yes sir my friend. Ramp means freedom. Wonderful post full of great information.

  2. Thanks Kelli! Hope you noticed my reply in your blog about the photo processing kiosk issue? We advocates need to keep on these issues, don't we? :)

  3. Hi Larry :-}
    Last year a local Pagan charity organization mobilized and built a ramp for me. Many small organizations are eager to 'show thier stuff' and help out. It is worth it to make some phone calls to organizations even if they don't seem to have anythign to do with building. (Jimmy Buffett fans, 'Parrot Head' groups often take action in thier areas, for example. Of course it is important to take care of getting the permits necessary, but in my case, these folks did a fine job.

  4. Hi Diana!

    Good tips about checking with other groups in your area. You are right... lots of good people out there who want to help in any way they can, bless them.

    Good to have you as a reader, by the way. Thank you for posting. :)

  5. When I read your article I saw that this article really interesting and its really nice. Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work.

  6. Hello There!

    Thank you for your kind words, and for becoming a reader. I hope you'll visit often!