How can I make doorways more accessible?

There are many ways to make doors, doorways and doorknobs in your home more accessible:

Widen doorways. To give yourself a few extra inches without replacing your door:
  • Install offset hinges that swing the door beyond the edge of the doorway exposing the full width of the door opening. You can find these hinges at home improvement stores.
  • Cut out the door jamb on the bottom half of the door to add clearance.
  • Remove doorstops to give yourself an extra three-quarter inch of clearance. If you absolutely need a doorstop, move it up the wall 3 feet or install the rubber disk style at the level of the door knob, so that it will not be a hazard to mobility devices or people walking by.
  • If you do not need a solid door in a location, remove the door from its hinges and you will increase the opening 1 to 1.5 inches. For privacy, use a spring-tension bar (available at bath and hardware stores) to hang a shower curtain over the opening, or you might install folding doors or mount pocket doors on the wall outside the door jamb.
Replace round knobs with lever handles that can be operated without gripping and turning. If replacing knobs is not an option, wrap a few rubber bands around the knob or purchase easy grip doorknob covers that will give you a better grasp.

Create a lever handle with things you may have around the house:
  • Fasten a dowel or piece of small PVC pipe to the doorknob with a rubber band; be sure to secure both sides of the dowel in a figure-8 pattern.
  • Attach a 4- to 6-inch pipe hanger to the door knob with a 2-inch-diameter radiator hose clamp. Cover rough edges on the bracket by wrapping it in plastic tape.
Add automatic door openers to heavy doors or make one by attaching old-fashioned pulleys and weights. It should take no more than 5 pounds of force to open any door.

Disguise doorways and add child-proof latches to discourage children and those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory issues from entering dangerous areas such as basements and laundry rooms, or exiting exterior doors.
Home Accessibility (300 Tips for Making Life Easier)

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Home Accessibility (300 Tips for Making Life Easier)

Written by the best-selling author of Multiple Sclerosis: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier and Parkinson's Disease: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier, Home Accessibility: 300 Tips for Making Life...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.