Mobility into and through your home. There is a very high chance that you, or someone you live with, will eventually use a wheelchair for periods of time. At the very least, as you get older you will have more difficulty getting around and steps will become a significant barrier. Even if you never need to use a wheelchair, you may wish to make better use of grocery bag carts, strollers, wheeled trash cans, wheeled luggage, and a variety of other conveniences. All these devices are stopped cold by steps and, like wheelchairs, are difficult to maneuver in tight spaces once inside the home. So there are two things to aim for: eliminating steps and creating maneuvering room. One of the simplest ways to make your home easier to live in is to make at least one entrance to the main living level accessible without going up or down steps. This may mean rerouting or regrading the front walk and porch. If you do this rerouting or regrading when you are having the walk replaced anyway, there will be little additional cost. Inside the home, there usually aren’t many steps that can be easily eliminated. If you add an addition, just make sure you don’t make it necessary to use steps to get into it! Another approach that works well is to prepare for single-level living. As you make changes over the years, seek to give yourself the option of living entirely on one level, even if only temporarily. Make sure you have a full bath, a kitchen, and a bedroom all on one level. If you have no bedroom on the kitchen level, consider installing pocket doors in your living room or dining room. Pocket doors are doors that hide away in the wall when not in use. When closed, they can convert a room into a private, temporary bedroom. Having laundry facilities on the same level is a big plus.
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