I’ve just worked through the process of researching and buying portable wheelchair ramps for the house, so that we can get my dad into and out of it easily when he visits. We want him to be here with as little fuss and stress as possible.
We actually have a lengthy, gently sloped cement ramp leading up to our back porch and kitchen door. This interesting design is fabulous for getting the garbage cans down to the street, and back up again. When we bought the house, it occurred to us that it might come in handy once Dad moved back east.
It was not to be. The kitchen door’s threshold is seven inches above the porch floor, and there’s not enough room to put a long enough ramp in place — or to turn a wheelchair onto said ramp. Let’s just say that we didn’t have a clue back then!
In the front, we have a path that should probably be redone, and we considered replacing the existing concrete with the same material, graded to make a safe ramp. In some ways, this was an appealing idea: it got rid of a crumbling walkway, and it would always be there. But that was the rub — it would always be there.
Unlike a wooden ramp, or portable ramps, it would become a feature of the house. A highly visible, difficult-to-remove feature. We vetoed that solution mostly out of concern for a possibly negative effect on a future home sale.
Through this process of elimination, we decided on portable ramps as the most effective, most flexible solution. Once that decision was made, I went through a six-step process to determine exactly what ramps were needed and how to buy them. In two future posts, I’ll discuss that process.