Rosie on the House: What are the first steps to bringing mom and dad home? |

Climbing steps is an impossibility for many. One solution is to make sure that everything your folks need is on the main level.

If access to the second floor is essential, there are automated chair lifts that will take your loved one up the stairs on the inside of your home ($1,800-$3,500).

If there are steps leading into the house, it may be necessary to build a ramp. To keep the ramp from becoming too steep the ramp length should be at least 22 feet long for one step, 34 feet for two steps and 51 feet for three steps, according to the Certified Living in Place Institute.

Thresholds can make getting in the house with a wheelchair or walker quite difficult. Portable ramps offer a great solution. They should have a high traction surface and be able to handle hundreds of pounds ($450-$900).

In many homes, doorways can be 28, 30 or 32 inches wide. Someone on a walker or in a wheelchair will need a doorway of 34 inches to clear the door. Installing offset hinges ($20-$30 per hinge) or removing part of the molding from the frame might achieve the clearance you need. To have a door widened and replaced expect to spend $1,500 per door which would include a new door, framing, new trim, hardware, drywall repair and painting.

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