You likely never considered the width of the doorways in your home until you decided to age in place. Now that you’ve made that decision, if you or someone in your home has mobility issues, the width of your doorways can suddenly be challenging.

Widening your doorways is an effective solution to the problem of doorway accessibility. If you are uncertain about this accessibility remodeling option, keep reading to learn five reasons why you should consider widening your doorways as you age-in-place!

1. Greater Wheelchair Accessibility

While the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) recommends doorways be at least thirty-six inches wide to accommodate common motorized mobility aids, the average width of a standard household doorway is between twenty-eight and thirty-two inches wide. These narrower doorways can be restrictive for wheelchair or mobility scooter users, making it difficult or impossible to pass through comfortably. 

Widening your doorways allows individuals in your household who use mobility aids to navigate through doorways more easily. When you widen your doorways, you make your home more inclusive and promote independent mobility for everyone.

 2. Accommodation of Mobility Assistance Devices

Wheelchairs and scooters are not the only mobility aids that are easier to use with wider doorways. Wider doorways also make the home more accessible when using common mobility assistance devices, like canes, crutches, and walkers.

While many mobility assistance devices are not as wide as wheelchairs or scooters, they can still require extra width to ensure clear passage without worrying about pinched fingers or banged elbows. Widening your doorways to accommodate mobility assistance devices makes passing through doorways more convenient and less problematic for users of canes, crutches, and walkers.

Our team recently completed a project involving doorway widening in Portland, Maine. Now, the homeowners are able to easily move around their home with their accessibility aids.

3. Increased Accessibility for Caregivers

Wider doorways are not only helpful for individuals with mobility issues who use mobility aids or devices. They also make it easier for the caregivers assisting these individuals to get from room to room.

A caregiver may need additional space to safely maneuver an individual with mobility issues through a doorway. Widening your doorways makes this task easier and safer for both the caregiver and the individual being cared for.

4. Better Emergency Preparedness 

If there is an emergency in your home, quick and unimpeded evacuation is important to the safety of everyone. A narrow doorway that is hard for a person with mobility issues to move through can slow down a timely evacuation.

If you are aging-in-place, it is important to make sure your home is ready to handle any emergency. Preventive steps, like installing a sprinkler system and widening doorways, can ensure the safety of all the members of your household in the event of an emergency.

5. Embrace Universal Design Principals

Widening your doorways is just one of the ways in which you can bring universal design principles into your home. Universal design is an inclusive design concept that aims to create environments that are accessible to individuals of all abilities.

Considering universal design principles when planning how to make your home more accessible as you age in place can ensure your home is comfortable and functional for all the members of your household. Widening doorways for increased accessibility fosters equitable use, one of universal design’s fundamental principles.

Preparing your home for aging-in-place involves anticipating the future needs of everyone in your household. Because mobility can become more difficult as you age, widening your doorways today can prevent accessibility issues in the years to come.

Let us help you increase accessibility in your home as you age-in-place! Schedule a consultation with Portland Accessibility Remodelers to assess all your age-in-place needs.