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By LC On 2016.06.04 07:50
My husband is at that point where using stairs to leave the house is difficult. I am currently using a gait belt to help him down the stairs. I was considering a ramp. I wondered whether a wooden ramp or a metal ramp would be best. Any suggestions?

By Mary556 On 2016.06.04 14:01
Best wishes for your husband and yourself, LC.

We had a metal ramp installed last summer and it has been working well for my Dad. Ours is inside of a garage. We went with aluminum mesh (not solid), thinking it would have better traction; snow from our boots falls through. Aluminum costs slightly more than steel up-front but requires no maintenance and had a lifetime warranty. Steel has a baked-on coating that should last a long time, but if it ever got chipped would need to be repainted with Rustoleum; that one had a 3-year warranty. Wood is pressure-treated with a chemical that would trigger asthma for me, so we did not consider that option.

As far as slope, ADA recommendation is 1/12 ratio, 1" rise to 1' of ramp. The ramp is meant for someone in a wheelchair or walking. It is not good for a person pushing on a walker since they would be propelled downward at that angle. My father's method is to exit the kitchen door and give his walker a little push so it is a couple feet ahead of him, then hold onto the side rails until he catches up with the walker for another little push until he gets to the end.
Hope this helps.

God bless all of our PWPs and caregivers.

By bksquared On 2016.06.05 00:36
We have installed several ramps. My husband uses a high-end roll-a-tor with serious handbrakes. The ramp's pitch is gentle, at the least degree slope for ADA compliance. We used wood since it can be stained to blend with the porch or decking. It is aesthetically pleasing. Since the ramp can get slippery, cover the ramp with commercial grade rubber runners. Where possible, on areas of the lawn with a slight change in grade we created a path using heavy rubber horse stall mats (4' x 6'). We also have threshold ramps at entry doors that are 3-4" above grade. These ramps are shorter due to the small rise, but also have a rubber mat or runner. It really makes it easy for him to roll the wheels. He uses his brakes if he picks up speed.

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