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We are in the process of selling our current home, and then building a new one. This will likely be the last time we move since it will be on family property that we will one day inherit. We've already discussed a few design ideas that are Parkie friendly, such as a walk-in shower with a built-in bench and wide doorways to accommodate a walker or wheelchair. I would love to hear any ideas from the forum community. Thanks! 

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swamper    59

Congratulations, Secret squirrel, on starting this great adventure!  My dh and I did it, about 15 years ago, and have loved having our own home, designed with our needs in mind.  A couple of things we have learned over the years since my diagnosis.  First, have as few steps going into the house as possible.  And even if that is two or three, put up railings so you can get into the house.  Also, have grab rails in the toilet area, and be sure to have the higher toilet seats.  I regret that I did not test out the height of the dishwasher, as the open door is so low I cannot easily load it.  And likewise, the cabinets are low and storage of pots and pans is a problem.  Of course, something has to be down low, so I am not sure how much modification one could make!  I am sure there will be people with more suggestions here soon, but I would certainly look long and hard at websites and consultants about accessibility.  It is so much easier to do these things ahead of time, than to have to do them after the building is complete.  Best of luck to you.  As I say, building a house is a great adventure, not for the faint-hearted....

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miracleseeker    675

My mom and I just moved into a house that I had renovated the master bathroom so it would have a big walk in shower and enough space for the toilet to have grab bars attached to the wall.  As much as I tried to prepare for everything it never ends up being exactly how I wanted.  We have a small backyard and I had all the grass taken out and put in paver stones so she could walk on it easier and the wheelchair can move better too.  My front porch has steps and there is not enough room to do a ramp so I have to leave it alone.  My mom can exit through the master bedroom's sliding glass door that leads to the backyard because it's leveled. I wish she can get out through the front like normal folks.  I had all the carpets take out of the bedrooms and put in hardwood floors that were suppose to be textured to avoid slipping but she's still sliding when she walks.  Due to the wheelchair being used outside and coming in with it I thought hardwood would be easier to clean up.    When I win the lottery and not if :P I will buy a giant house that I can do anything to make it completely accessible for my mom and money would not be an issue. 

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afroney    125

No stairs. God, I hate stairs.  (Still recovering from a nasty tumble down my basement stairs)

A bathroom attached to the bedroom would also be nice.  Nothing like stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

 

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miracleseeker    675

Stairs are evil.  People who say they love a 2 story house will know how bad it is when they start to have trouble lifting their feet to walk.  Healthy people can fall from them too.  I heard an ex-coworker's husband died after falling down the stairs at their house.  He was only 31. 

 

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Thanks, all...much appreciated!

I certainly am looking forward to the adventure, and we definitely want to get it right the first time. Thought of grab bars, but not toilet seat height...DUH! Master bath for sure. I mentioned no stairs or at least a ramp as well, but hubs kinda crinkled his nose at the idea. Not sure if he's worried about the aesthetics or is slightly in denial. Stairs are daunting. My great-aunt died after falling down her stairs several years ago. Not sure of her age (late 70's?), but as far as I know, she didn't have any health conditions that would predispose her to falls. When I was younger, I wanted a 2-story house...not anymore!

Edited by secret squirrel
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parkywifey    3

We spent a year planning our new single story home and moved into it 2 years ago from a 3 story Victorian that was going to be impossible for my husband to live in. After caring for parents and in-laws for 10 years and now a husband with Parkinson's (8 years diagnosed), I had a very good idea of what was needed Here's some of what we did:

Our master bedroom bath has a curbless shower that is large enough to bring the wheelchair into the shower, then transfer to built-in bench.  We have two shower fixtures: one hand held near the built in bench and another a regular height for my use or on days when husband has strength to stand. Of course you want plenty of grab bars in the shower and around the toilet area. We have a double vanity and his side has a removable cabinet underneath so a wheelchair can fit under it when that time comes in the future.

We made the attached garage floor level with the house so I can wheel my husband easily from the house to the car. The garage is also over-sized so we have plenty of room to maneuver around any stored items.

We also added a half bath very near to kitchen and family room. Bathrooms should be as close as possible to the rooms you spend the most time in.  If you move slowly but have a bathroom emergency, believe me, you'll be very happy to have a bathroom very close by. It will save you lots of clean-up.

All doors are 36 inches wide for easy wheelchair maneuvering and hallways are also wider than normal.

Big windows keep an invalid from getting cabin fever. If budget allows, a screened porch or easy accessible deck will allow the patient to get some outdoor time.

We installed an induction cook top which has very little residual heat.  If the Parky patience uses countertops as support in the kitchen, he will be less likely to get burned from a hot gas/electric stove or cook top.

Hardwood floors are recommended for PD patients because they tend to shuffle and not pick up their feet when walking.  We, however, decided to put low pile carpeting in most of house (except kitchen and baths).  Since PD patients also tend to lose their balance and fall, we felt that falling on carpet might be less dangerous. The low pile still allows for shuffling and is almost as easy as hardwood for using wheelchair.

 

 

 

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New normal    1,275

Really good suggestions.  We put an outside entrance to master bedroom. Reasons:  quick exit/entrance in case of an emergency ( already use it for paramedics);  Its handy if we are confined to bed & still want visitors;   and if one of us needs exrended care at home we added a very strong patio framework to the door entrance in case we want to add a separate/expanded care unit.

We use the door far more than we expected. As MS said, it makes a convenient way to be outside.

A great thread.

NN

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