Wheelchair Ramps: Which Types Are Right for Your Home?

The transition into a wheelchair is always difficult, especially if you have never used one before. You have to learn new ways to complete basic functions, like dressing, bathing, and using the restroom. You also may have to develop new strategies for getting around your home, getting in and out of cars, and even going outside. For many people who are new to wheelchairs, mobility is the biggest challenge. Yes, the wheelchair gives them a mechanism to move. However, it still limits their independence in many respects. They often need help getting to where they want to go. Some areas of their home may even be inaccessible. If you have recently transitioned to a wheelchair or if you are supporting a loved one who is wheelchair-bound, one of the most helpful things you can do is look for ways to improve access and mobility. When a person in a wheelchair has full access to their home, car, and other locations, they regain a sense of independence. That can boost their quality of life and their mindset. One way to improve accessibility is to use ramps. Strategically placed ramps can help a person in a wheelchair or scooter overcome a wide range of obstacles, including steps, door thresholds, and car doors. Of course, you may have already realized that you need a ramp, or even multiple ramps. The real question is what kind work best for you needs and your budget. There are a number of different ramps available, from permanent structures to mobile fold-up options. Below are a few questions to ask yourself to determine which ramp is right for you or your loved one.

Is your ramp need permanent or temporary?

As important as accessibility is, you like also have a budget to consider. If your wheelchair use is temporary, you may not want to invest a significant amount of money into a large, semi-permanent structure. One option is a mobile fold ramp. These are ramps that can be folded up, making them easy to store or even move to various spots. With a fold ramp, you can put the ramp down when it’s needed and then simply remove it when it isn’t. If you have multiple entry or exit points, you can move the ramp around the house as needed. Fold ramps come in two varieties: single fold and multi fold. Single fold ramps have one fold, usually down the middle. As the name suggests, multi fold have several fold points, which allows you to convert the ramp into a smaller piece of equipment for easy storage and movement. Generally, single fold ramps are less expensive than multi fold. What if you’re need is permanent? In that case, it may make sense to invest in a more long-term, stable structure. That’s especially true if you will mostly use one door for entry and exit. A solid ramp could be a good option. Solid ramps are usually made from aluminum, so they can withstand the elements. They’re durable too, which means they can endure an extended period of nearly constant use. Solid ramps are often more expensive than fold ramps. However, if you have a permanent and frequent need to go in and out of a specific point, it could be worth the investment.

Do you have door thresholds that obstruct the wheelchair?

When you’re in a wheelchair, there’s often nothing more frustrating than a non-cooperative door threshold. You might have a patio that you would like to enjoy, or simply a doorway that leads into a kitchen or other favorite room. You’re so close to entering the room, but the threshold blocks the wheel at the last second. Threshold ramps are small, affordable solutions that are usually made from either aluminum or rubber. They have beveled, graduated inclines that help guide the ramp over the threshold. They’re also easy to install and highly durable. Even if your wheelchair can make it over a threshold, a threshold ramp could still be a good idea. That’s especially true if you have spine issues or are recovering from an injury that leaves you vulnerable to sudden movements. Often, the act of rolling over a threshold can be bumpy, and it may be too much for someone who needs a smooth ride. A threshold ramp can eliminate that volatility.

Do you have landscaping or other elements that block a path for a ramp?

It’s possible that you may need a permanent solid ramp to help you get from the driveway or sidewalk to the front door. However, the path may not be straight and clear. Maybe you have landscaping that you don’t want to destroy. It could be possible that your home is on an incline, making it difficult to install a ramp. Modular ramps help you overcome these challenges. A modular ramp is much like an aluminum solid ramp. The difference is that modular ramps come in a wide variety of sections. That means you can design the modules and components to build a custom ramp around your landscaping, inclines, or other obstacles. The price of a modular ramp varies based on your exact needs. The more components or modules you need, the higher the price is likely to be. However, if you need a custom ramp to navigate certain elements or distances, a modular version could be the ideal solution.

Do you need to travel with your mobility device?

To be truly independent, you don’t just need to get around your home. You also likely want to get out and visit restaurants, stores, family and friends, and maybe even go to work. To do that, you’ll need to get in and out of a car. Single and multi fold ramps can be used for this if the vehicle is fairly low to the ground. However, if you are using a van or truck, you may find a van ramp more suitable. These are ramps specifically made to navigate the height difference between the ground and the van. Van ramps have the durability and you need to navigate inclines into a larger vehicle. They’re usually strong enough to not only support traditional wheelchairs, but also power chairs and motorized scooters. Our mobility specialists can help you determine what time of ramp you need to access your vehicle. At first, your transition to a wheelchair may feel like a substantial limitation. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Through the use of ramps and other tools, you can likely go nearly anywhere in a wheelchair that you could go while walking. If you or a loved one has recently transitioned into a wheelchair, contact us at Med Mart to learn which types of ramps may be most helpful for you. Our knowledgeable mobility consultants welcome the opportunity to learn more about your situation and help you develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and identify the best ramps for your needs and budget.