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Thread: wheelchair accessible apartment

  1. #1

    wheelchair accessible apartment

    I am in the process of finding an apartment, and I have noticed that many places claim to be "wheelchair accessible" and "handicap accessible." I am almost certain that when I start calling these places they are all going to give me different interpretations of what they believe accessible means. So, my question is for people that have been through this experience. What does "accessible" usually mean? A ramp in the parking lot? Will they have wide door frames, accessible bathrooms, cut outs under the sinks, lowered cabinets...? What should I expect to find out their? What should I be looking for?

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    A frustrating process!

    Make sure to clearly state your needs when you call around. I need x amount of door width, cannot stand at all, grab-rails in bathroom, etc.

    I found most places were built for seniors who could stand, but that's Canada for you.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    There is no real standard, and just because they put up a grab-bar, many landlords think they can call it an accessible apt. (unless it is Section 8, where there ARE standards). You have to ask VERY specific questions. Here is a start of a list:

    -Is there wheelchair accessible parking? How far from the doorway? Are there steps or a ramp from there to the apt.?
    -What floor is the unit on? If not on the ground floor, how far is the elevator? How wide is the elevator door? What are the dimensions of the elevator car?
    -Are there any steps up to the door?
    -If there is a ramp, how long is it, how wide is it, what is the grade, and does it have hand rails?
    -How high is the threshold?
    -How wide is the opening for the front door? Does it swing in or out?
    -Once I am inside, are there any steps up or down anywhere inside the unit?
    -Is the unit all on one floor?
    -Is there a second entrance/exit? Is that wheelchair accessible as well?
    -How wide is the bathroom doorway? Does the door swing in or out?
    -How much space is there in the bathroom that is floor space not taken up by the tub, toilet or sink?
    -Tell me about the tub/shower situation?
    -Are there any grab bars in the bathroom? Where? Are they installed in drywall or directly into studs?
    -How wide is the doorway to the bedroom? The kitchen?
    -If you don't drive, you also need to ask how far it is to the bus stop and if you have to push a long ways or up/down hills to get there.

    If you get satisfactory answers to all these questions, then arrange to visit the property. Once you are there, you can ask about widening doors or installing grab bars (at your expense). They don't have to allow that, but most do. They can require you to return it to the original condition when you leave, but most don't. You are probably not going to find any accomodations in the kitchen, and rarely if ever will you find a roll-in shower. You need to know if you can get into those rooms and and if you can manage though, even without structural modifications. Good luck!

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Justin,
    I've been using a wheelchair for 23 years (living in apartments) and have found that it may be a good idea to ask them what they mean by wheelchair accessible...I have found that they focus on bars in the bathroom and size of door jams. I am very independent (er...till recently but that is another story). I would look at every apartment that does not have a barrier between your vehicle and the front door. That info you can find from talking with the agent/landlord. I have found most of the apartments I've rented don't see themselves as accessible but I can see better than anyone what would work for me and so can you.

    Go out apartment hunting...bring a friend... and start looking at everything because you never know where it will show up.

    Terry

  5. #5
    Moderator jody's Avatar
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    here too upstate south carolina. 2bedroom 1/12 bath 450 a month. the accessable ones have ramp, wider doors, larger bathrooms, grab bars.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    while asking questions over the phone is nice and all, u need to go and look at the place urself. i went to 10 different places and if they didnt allow me to look at the apartment before signing anything then i said forget it. my place is "wheelchair accessible" but doesnt have knobs on the cabinets so i cant even open them. the ramp is slightly steep and they dont regularly shovel/plow in the winter but it was the best place out of all the others.
    "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"
    http://www.elportavoz.com/

  7. #7
    You can go online and do some searching for an apartment to narrow it down to a few that you can go look at. It has been a long time since I lived in an apartment, but the newer ones should have an accessible unit. Getting to view and finding an available accessible apartment is another story however.

    Good luck in your search!

  8. #8

    Unhappy

    We have found that those places that say "disability access" here in So Cal just mean that there is an elevator to get from the parking garage into the building and the doorways are wide enough to accomodate a chair.
    We've only seen one that had a floor plan with 5' turning radius in the kitchen and bathroom, and even then there were no grab bars or any other modifications.
    We have had such bad luck finding anywhere out here that my husband and I are actually renting two studio apartments, since we can't find any 2 bath units that have a kitchen he can get in and out of. Most are narrow galleys that don't even have enough room for his chair if the refridgerator, oven or dishwasher door is open.
    It is so frustrating and infuriating to not even be able to share a home with the man I love because no one has thought about the needs of wheelchair users when building housing out here.
    Kimber in SoCal
    Wife to Tom, T12 incomplete since 1988

  9. #9

    accessible...........

    As mentioned before - go look at the apt yourself before signing/doing anything. I'm a T7 para the past 23 years and have lived in upstate NY, Va, Tx and Az - that phrase "handicap accessible" doesn't always mean what it says. Marked parking but apt doors aren't wide enough, no grab bars in the shower, a tub instead of a shower - lots of possible minuses are possible. No one but you knows what you can and cannot do, what you like and don't like - what you want and don't want. With the moving that I did, I was very lucky but I've talked with others who weren't. Any long distant move is going to be a guessing game if you don't know anyone there to do the work for you.

  10. #10
    I think wheelchair accessible apartment means the apartment that can easily access by wheelchair person and for that ramp is must, in case of height, ramp reach to lift....No problem to reach apartment......

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