EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MAKING YOUR DECK ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL

 

Decks are welcoming spaces right outside the house, where the entire family can relax and entertain their guests under the bright skies or beneath the stars. However, these gorgeous outdoor spaces weren’t always this diverse, durable, attractive, or versatile as they are in the present times. It is very interesting seeing the history of decks, how they have evolved over the years, and how the architects innovated over time to reach this modern version.

A Brief History of Decks

The decks today can be used in millions of different ways, such as outdoor kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, or even as a place to host parties and are almost a near-complete living space. However, this wasn’t always the case since in the 1970s these outdoor spaces were much simpler and not at all diverse.  They were mostly no more than 8 to 10 feet of the area outside an individual home. With such limited space to work with, decks were hardly used for anything at all. They were mainly used for grilling some meat, they were not ideal for any other type of activity and were pretty much useless. This was also the case because people viewed it as a space outside their house rather than an extension of their homes. This made them invest less and care less about how they will utilize it. The lack of building material was also a huge hurdle in constructing anything outside the house, as durability and sustainability was a massive concern.  During that time most homeowners built decks from hardwood, as only a few options were available for home building. This was also the time when people started investing more in making their houses presentable and more useful on the inside rather than setting it aside for the deck. It progressed over time since many important developments took place and the journey towards composite decks started.

Important Developments

It was around the 1980s that the concept of outdoor spaces and the decks took a U-turn. The designs began to change and people were more open to the idea of a functional outdoor area. 

The deck space was no longer limited for meal preparation, decks were starting to take on a completely new purpose, and become a real attraction for homeowners who were looking to invest in their spaces and customize it according to their styles. 

The outdoor living spaces were now also gaining popularity as a functional space. Thanks to the advancement in design, the decks became true extensions of the main area rather than just a small insignificant space that you pass by while entering someone’s house.

Better Sustainability

 

It was towards the end of the 1990s, better materials were made available for the construction of decks, which was the main revolution in the world of decking. They were mostly a combination of plastic and wood fiber. Composite materials quickly became popular with a number of homeowners who were actively seeking a more sustainable way of building a great deck that does not give up under pressure.

Hardwood was not exactly the best or the most sustainable choice for decking material, but in the late 1990s, eco-friendly material was made available and more and more builders were searching for greener options that were certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. 

 

At almost the same time, aluminum was also used as a decking material, which was also deemed as a sustainable material for construction due to its durability. It was not only readily available but it was also recyclable metal.

 

Advanced Durability

Hardwood is one of the most durable materials used for building decks since it does not give up easily, but if you want to maintain it for long periods of time, you need to ensure regular maintenance checks to make it look great and stay structurally sturdy for longer periods. 

 

Homeowners slowly transitioned towards a more pragmatic approach to deck building and started looking for alternative materials that do not require too much maintenance. This is why wood that was treated with pressure became a viable option for a natural-looking finish. Furthermore vinyl and aluminum also started to stand out as tough and stain-resistant materials.

 

When the year 2010 rolled by, the innovations in the construction industry improved considerably, which resulted in a much more durable end product. These advances made composite decking a much better and innovative idea for homeowners, as it kept the deck from getting ruined by moisture and sun exposure. 

 

Top-rated decking options in the present 

When you set out to build a deck these days, there are multiple options available to choose from. Whether you are big on sustainability, looking for an award-worthy appearance, are focused on durability, or want a combination of all of them you have a diverse set of options to pick from.  Some of these options include the following:

Hardwood 

Hardwood is most definitely not the most recent material out there for decks, but it still retains its original appeal for many homeowners. After all, there is no other material that looks like natural or upscale hardwood decks.

Redwood and cedar are the number one choices when it comes to natural resistance to pests and decay, also they are extremely sturdy against moisture and sun damage. If a homeowner wants to for something that is long term, then this is a perfect choice. 

One drawback that hardwood entails is the need for constant maintenance after short intervals. But if you carry them out and care for it then you can increase its lifespan ten folds. 

Homeowners can use sandpaper to remove scratches, dents, or other worn-out areas on a hardwood deck. This way they can restrain the deck to look as good as new. In addition to touching up the isolated areas, you can also strip and paint your hardwood deck every five years or so. 

Alternatively, the hardwood tiles can be used for the deck floor, which makes the installation much more simple and straightforward.

Tropical Hardwood 

Tropical hardwood is also a natural-looking deck but it comes with a premium price tag. The tropical hardwood has many benefits, such as they are naturally sturdy, have resistance against pests and moisture, and are naturally appealing to the eyes. 

Tropical hardwood installation is a little on the steeper side, as they are dense and are not as receptive to staining. This is why they change their color over time and lose their natural appearance. 

Composite Decks

A composite deck is one of the most cost-effective and sustainable options that looks exactly like the hardwood deck. They are also highly customizable, as they are available in multiple colors and wood grain. 

These types of decks are far more sustainable than any kind of wood, as it is made with recycled wood fiber and can, therefore, last for more than 25 years. Composite decks also need minimum maintenance as long as you don’t damage it with paints or varnish. If you do so, you have to schedule routine maintenance tests to keep it in good condition for a long while.

Pressure-treated wood

If you are looking for an even more cost-effective alternative to the usual hardwood, then you might want to check out the pressure-treated wood, as it is one of the most widely used decking materials around the world today. 

It is typically made out of pine and the pressure that is exerted on the wood makes it resistant to the fungus, pests, or other rots. The pressure treated wood available today is made with synthetic and safer chemicals that the previous ones. 

However, pretty much like all other materials, this one also has some downsides. This pressure treated wood is liable to warp and crack, which is why it needs routine maintenance checks to strengthen the lifespan. 

Plastic or Vinyl 

PVC or vinyl is not the first material that comes to the mind when you think of decks, but they are a really good choice. The ready-made PVC decks have superior durability and need next to none maintenance. 

Due to the plastic material, they are stain and water-resistant and do not wear out with time. They are also very lightweight and super affordable, but they lack the shine and the natural appearance of the hardwood decking. 

Aluminum Decking

The aluminum material is naturally able to resist the pests and does not mold or wear out with time. This type of deck is durable and sturdy, which means that there are no chances of it either splitting or cracking in half. 

This is also extremely slip resistant and does well in both wet and dry climates. It is affordable and you don’t have to carry out regular maintenance. If the homeowners are interested in a deck that is lightweight, affordable, environment friendly, and recyclable, then aluminum is the best answer.

 

What is an Accessible Deck?

Whether it’s summers or a chill winter night, there is nothing like a deck to host a seasonal party. An afternoon mango party or a chilling winter barbecue, nothing comes close to your own little space to enjoy it. The space that is built for you with your specifications, that caters to your needs and is built to provide your family with the maximum level of comfort. 

This is a beautiful extension of your house, your safe place, the area where you can relax and have the time of your life. However, it is essential to keep in mind that the area outside your house is just as important as the insides. Whereas you take full credit for the inside while decorating the house, several people leave the surrounding areas like the deck for the builders. 

The builders do usually have a really good idea about what to do with it, but they don’t know the dynamics of your house and the specific needs of your family members with respect to the deck. They don’t know what type of deck is suitable for you, your friends, and your family.

The deck is a very important part of a modern house, previously people used to focus more on the verandas. But now the deck takes the cake with its gorgeous layout and the overall uplift it provides to the way your house looks.

It is essentially a piece of wooden material that is laid out either at the front or the back of your house, to attach the main area with the yard and create a block in between. It honestly can have any appearance you have in mind for this part of your house. You can have patio furniture out there on it or arrange small plants around its boundary. You can make it a fun place to hang out after dinner or to have tea with your family in the evenings.

This place is a magical area, where the sun shines and views are usually breathtaking. You can enjoy a cup of tea here or watch your children play in the sun while you take some time to relax. 

However, a deck can prove to be a nuisance for the differently-abled people when it’s not built by keeping their needs in mind. An accessible deck is the one that is available to everyone, no matter the level of their body’s functionality and mobility. Most decks around the world have a step or two that leads to it, which is a hurdle if someone wants to wheel themselves down.

It can limit the functionality of the deck as it won’t be accessible to many. This can result in the person feeling left out or too dependent on others, or it can restrict the entire family from enjoying their time outside. In any way, it won’t prove its real purpose. 

Providing equal access to everyone in the family would allow everyone to be mobile without having to rely on the other members. An accessible deck is just a small step towards the goal of having a more inclusive house that helps the elderly and the disabled individuals to live their life to the fullest without any obstacles.

This might seem like a very small problem to some, but people who rely on a wheelchair for most of their daily routine activities, it can act as a massive hurdle to get their things done. When you are planning a house, it is best to construct a plan that does not overlook the issues that they face every day. 

Small changes in and around the house can play a vital part in mobilizing all the differently-abled people. This will allow them to carry out their day to day tasks without having to call someone to wheel them down. There are many ways through which you can ensure that your deck is fully accessible for all and most of them are just minor tweaks to its layout.

Just being on the outside and the deck makes you feel better and so it is only relevant that you can imagine how much they must crave the outdoors as well. Wholesome stories such as the one about a few fifteen-year-olds who built an accessible deck for a handicapped man who was stuck in his house for 15 years made rounds on the internet and filled our hearts with love. The man was immensely thankful to the group of boys who did that. 

Stories like this make us wonder how much better this world would be if we all start to make our decks more accessible for everyone. Start slow with one deck or one house at a time, and we will eventually get there. 

Why would you need an accessible deck?

A deck can bring an immense amount of happiness due to the memories and experiences attached to it. The birthdays and the intimate weddings held at the deck are always cherished and become fond memories in our hearts. You can host cute birthday parties for your little one or have a nice winter get together with fairy lights and a bonfire. In short, the possibilities are endless with this cute little area in your house. It is the best place to hold dinners and have barbecues due to their sleek designs and their ability to gather everyone together.  They are made to gather everyone in the same area and provide maximum comfort, all the while looking stylish and aesthetic. However, if you have a disabled or an elderly person in the house, it can get quite challenging for them to enjoy these parties. Mostly because decks are not always made to fully facilitate them. In all honesty, almost all the aspects of a normal house are not always in favor of them. They cannot move around freely due to the designs being inaccessible most of the time and not made to cater to their needs.  This means that they are mostly dependent on the other family members to move them around, which affects their mobility and crushes their self-esteem.  When we talk about an accessible deck, we essentially mean that it should not prevent anyone in the house from doing what they want to and need to do. For instance, if you are a disabled lawyer, it does not mean that you become less effective while being in a wheelchair, as long as you have full access to the library and the courtroom. Being in a wheelchair does not affect your work and your expertise as long as you have full access to the places and the materials, equipment, and tools to complete your work.

We mostly do not care about them getting equal opportunities as long as we get then. But even if we come across a slight difficulty in life then we realize how hard it can be if we don’t have our usual help and the access to all things that we have in routine life. 

However, people with disabilities have to lead their whole lives with whatever is missing in it. This is why the homes and all things attached to it should always be accessible to them as well. Sometimes the person can be in danger and won’t be able to support themselves due to the lack of access to the basic amenities in life. 

It might give them the ability to enjoy rain or sit by and watch the sun go down. Something as small as this might be able to bring a positive change in their lives and their moods. It will give them the boost of confidence that they lack as they cannot fully mobilize themselves. 

By giving them access to an integral part of a modern home, you are giving them a message that this house is as much theirs as it is yours. The need for an accessible deck should honestly not even be up for debate. When we cannot imagine being dependent on someone for our basic day to day life, why should we think that someone else is comfortable in living like that? 

If people with special needs are accommodated with what is normal to them, their disabilities will become their power, and won’t limit them to have full disclosure to fully participate in life. 

The need for accessible decks and accessible homes, in general, gives everyone the freedom to steer their life in the direction that they want to. Free of any dependence on another human being or their counterparts. 

The need for accessible desks will act as moral support and give out the message that they are complete just as they are. If they can’t change something about themselves, they don’t have to. They can make it their superpower and challenge the norms by being the best version of themselves. 

This is only possible if we all support each other without any question and fully allow our homes to be an inclusive place for all; the kids, the elderly, and the disabled.

An accessible deck can be the perfect boost of confidence for your disabled family members. You need an accessible deck for your house because it will be the best thing that you do for your house, you make it inclusive and welcoming for all. Among the negativity that surrounds us, your deck can be the perfect place where you differently-abled friends and family will be able to relax with you at their own pace and not feel out of space. Your parties will be the ones that everyone looks forward to and your kids will learn how to respect everyone from the beginning of time.

Who Needs an Accessible Deck?

According to a report by the American Government, less than five percent of the total homes are made to facilitate the differently-abled population. Let that sink in, in a country where 26% of the total population is disabled, less than 5% of the homes have adequate features to fully support them. 

These alarming statistics should be enough to show you all why fully accessible homes are the need of the hour which should not be ignored. Adding a small feature, such as a ramp will make it accessible for the elderly and the disabled. Even small children will be able to crawl their way into the backyard and get some of that very essential Vitamins from the sun.

The elderly who are no longer able to fully support themselves and are now only partly functional need to have complete access to the house to remain sane. The decks play a huge part in their ability to stay on top of their matters without having to call house help to take them out. 

This gives them a sense of independence that they very much cherished at their young age. Not only is an accessible deck important for a house, but it is also very crucial in old homes and retirement homes. 

Those places can get dull at times due to the hard consequences that people have seen there. A gorgeous and accessible deck will give the residents a much-needed pop of fun and allow them to live in peace by hanging out in the open air for some time. 

They could enjoy their cup of tea in the evening with their best friends and wheel themselves around when they laugh about how they used to spend their evenings in the past. They can also gather around and play a game of cheese in the cold breeze without having to worry about someone else taking them out and showing around. 

This would very much make the volunteers happy as well when they will find out that the old home is made to facilitate its residents as much as possible. Trust us, nothing brings more happiness for a human than the independence to move around and feel fully mobilized. 

The next group of people who are in awful need of accessible ramps and decks around the house is those who are gifted in some way, which is different from the other part of the population. 

This does not mean that they should be dependent on others for their daily day to day life. We cannot even imagine the pain that they must go through when they realize that the world is not made to fully accommodate them. 

An accessible deck will give everyone in the house equal opportunities to take full advantage out of it and make the home truly theirs. A house that is inclusive of all, from the inside and the outside is the only way to make the house truly wholesome. 

Disabled people should not have to depend on anyone to just go out and hang around in the backyard or have their tea in the fresh air. Your deck should be accessible for all. It is a beautiful part of every modern home that gives such good vibes, so why deprive even one person of it. 

It is an essential part of being to want to enjoy some time in the house, especially if you live with someone. The decks are the best place to just sit there and soak in the sunlight or feel easy-breezy air move through your hair, making it messy. There is no better feeling than to be able to sit in the backyard accessible for all and have a good time. 

A deck that has a wheelchair ramp attached to it allows the disabled and the elderly to wheel themselves without any hassle and without waiting for someone else to take them there. It would make the co-living space an area that caters to everyone’s needs and is a heaven for all.

How to Make a Deck Accessible for All

For Seniors/Elderly:

Every individual works hard all their life in order to be able to live a comfortable life when they are older and retired. However, it is a well-known fact that despite the luxury of being able to relax, old age tends to come with its own set of problems. These may include abnormalities in the vitals of an individual, muscular stiffness and degeneration, weakness of the bones, and overall a lower level of activity. 

In a nutshell, the mobility of the elderly is already impacted due to the issues that come with age and they should not be magnified by an inaccessible deck area in the house. This would make them feel depressed, restricted, and left out in the day to day activities of the family. This is not a fair treatment of the elderly of the family and steps should be taken in order to make them feel like they are an integral part of the family dynamic. 

In order to make the deck more accessible, it should be made sure that the steps to the deck are not high at all. Short and a low number of steps make it much more accessible to the elderly. Furthermore, the handles on the side and the steps should contain a coating of rubber on them to provide for gripping while climbing the steps and avoid any mishaps. 

Old age also tends to impact the eyesight of an individual which would require the deck to be a very well lit area to assist them in moving around. light s should be installed inside the steps to the deck as well to help the elderly distinguish one step from another. These are LED lights that can be obtained easily at any electrical workshop and can be installed by the workers who are constructing your deck.

If the elderly uses a wheelchair then it is integral that a sturdy, safe, and a not too steep ramp is attached to the side of the deck. This saves them the discomfort of having to ask for assistance and enjoy their eventful time with their loved ones on the deck.

For Physically Disabled and Handicapped:

Disability tends to come with significant challenges in terms of daily functionality, being able to complete the most routine tasks, and a low level of confidence in interacting with friends and family. Disabled individuals are dependent to a great extent on those around them to remain functional and this severely dampens their self-esteem. 

The last thing that should be impacted is their social interactions that take place with their loved ones on the deck. Their memories of beautiful events should not be tarnished by how they weren’t unable to go up on the deck and join the other members of the family due to it being inaccessible. 

A disabled individual might be walking using a crutch or be seated in a wheelchair. In both cases there is a need for two main adjustments to the deck; low-level steps and a ramp. It should be ensured that both of these should be lined with silicone strips to prevent the individual from slipping and hurting themselves. The handles on the side should also be coated with rubber to provide a better grip. Lastly, the ramp should not be too and should have minuted clips on the side to lock the wheelchair and mount it to the top of the deck.

For Those With Brittle Bone Disease:

Brittle bone disease is primarily a result of reduced bone density in an individual. This can make the bones prone to fractures and can even disintegrate in extreme cases. Even the slightest wrong movement or step can land them in a mess. They are medically advised to not exert themselves and keep their movement to a minimum level.

This can indeed be very depressing and limiting for an individual of any age. They have to constantly keep a check on how they are walking, how they are holding something, or how much load they have taken on themselves. This can be an exhausting process and the least that can be done is making the decks more accessible for them so that they can hang out with their loved ones in a relaxed frame of mind.

The deck should be made of matt no slippery material in order to prevent any accidents for these individuals. Any obstacles like big potted plants or small decorations that can pose any form of safety hazard should be removed. The seated arrangement should focus more on safety and less on looking trendy. Any sofa or seat should have decent back support and armrest.

In case it is needed low-level steps and a ramp should be installed at the side of the ramp. It should be ensured that both of these should be lined with silicone strips to prevent the individual from slipping and hurting themselves. The handles on the side should also be coated with rubber to provide a better grip. Lastly, the ramp should not be too and should have minuted clips on the side to lock the wheelchair and mount it to the top of the deck.

For Those With Cerebral Palsy:

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder that impacts the mobility of an individual to a great extent. It can start by a minor event like tripping over a rock that may seem routine but in this case, it is due to the reason that your muscles have stopped supporting you. It is a highly progressive disease that eventually lands an individual in the wheelchair having very little control over their movement, posture or even speech. The saddening fact is that this affects individuals of every age and brings life to a complete halt in a matter of months. 

Such an occurrence can be overwhelming and saddening for the affected individual. They do not need a constant reminder of how the things they could do easily like walking up to the deck is now out of their reach. This is why a significant effort must be made to make the deck accessible for them so they feel comfortable moving around. 

 

The prime means of doing so is by attaching a wooden ramp(alternating with silicone strips to provide grip) with the right amount of incline to provide the individual with ease of access to the deck. This would allow them to come on the deck and join their friends and family to have an amazing time. 

The ramp should be of sturdy material to provide support for the wheelchair and should have handles on the side to grip while getting on the deck.

 

For Those With MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY:

Muscular dystrophy is the wastage of healthy muscle matter that begins by affecting basic functionality initially and progressive to becoming fatal at a later stage when muscles like the heart get impacted. It affects people of all individuals and has been the cause of a lot of young deaths.

In most cases individuals confine themselves to their rooms since they are not comfortable coming out in a wheelchair, requiring help for moving around and even having a bag attached to them for things like going to the bathroom. This is not a comfortable situation and should not be worse by making them feel restricted owing to an inaccessible deck. 

Their prime need is a ramp that either connects the house directly to the deck or one that is attached externally to it as well. In their case, the former is better since it makes them feel more comfortable seeing the deck connected to the house as a whole. This can just be a connecting passageway between the main house and the deck that is made from strong and non-slippery material. The ramp should be wheelchair friendly and should allow the individual to easily come from the house to the deck to enjoy a party with their friends.

For Those With Spina Bifida:

This is a birth defect that results in the spine of the individual not being formed properly. This means that the baby will be restricted to a wheelchair from a very young age for their mobility. This can be very upsetting for a child seeing other children running around and playing. 

A ramp is absolutely essential in this case. It should be made of a material that can take a load of a child and an adult to avoid the need for alteration every now and then. It should be made of aluminum owing to its strength and coated with silicone to provide the necessary grip.

In order to make the deck more child friendly a corner can be made for the child where toys and games are present to be played and available at above hip level so they can reach them easily. There can be stuffed toys and even a screen with PS4 so that the child can enjoy their time playing games with their friends. 

An adult’s needs are different since they are looking for the least dependent means of interacting with their friends and family on a regular basis. They want freedom with respect to moving around the interior and the exterior of the house. This is made possible by installing a ramp in place.

For Those With Friedrich’s Ataxia:

This is a genetic issue in the individual that impacts their ability to move their hand and leg muscles. At a progressive stage, this disease has the ability to impact the brain and heart cells of the body. These two are the powerhouses of our body and if they get impacted then either an individual can have a bedridden lifestyle or it could be fatal for them.

Since it severely impacts the hand and leg muscles, individuals who suffer from it have trouble walking or using their arms to reach things. Some of them may even be fixated in a wheelchair if the disease has progressed. However, this does not mean that they are treated as an outcast and as a forgotten part of the social circle. They should be made to feel more welcome as much as any other individual when there are social gatherings. 

This would require the modification of the deck to make it more accessible. In this case, it can be done by installing low-level steps and a ramp. It should be ensured that both of these should be lined with silicone strips to prevent the individual from slipping and hurting themselves. The handles on the side should also be coated with rubber to provide a better grip. Lastly, the ramp should not be too steep and should have minute clips on the side to lock the wheelchair and mount it to the top of the deck.

In addition to this, any fixations or furniture on the ramp should be of a comfortable height which is okay for an individual in a wheelchair and they do not have to stretch too much to pick things from the table.

For Those With Multiple Sclerosis:

Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disorder that hampers the communication between the brain and the nerves throughout the body. This basically affects the entire body of the affected individual. 

They can go from being completely functional to becoming dependent on those around them for their every need. 

This should be kept in mind when designing a  part of your house like the deck. It should be safe and easy to reach space for these individuals. There should be a solid deck that is wheelchairs friendly and has a ramp attached to its side ( ensure it is non-slippery). In addition to this, steps having a low height individually to reach the deck for those having difficulty walking.

Any elements like magazines, newspapers, or even cutlery for the table should be at a comfortable height that these individuals can reach them easily. If not then they will either be dependent on others for help or be uncomfortable in trying to reach them.

 

For Those With an acquired brain injury:

It is a part of life to be involved in accidents. Some of these might be as small as getting a papercut on your finger or as big as suffering from a life-changing brain injury. A brain injury can impact almost every function of the body whether it is walking, speech, or sight. 

Such individuals tend to need a lot of moral support from their loved ones in order to be able to function at a normal level. When they are at home or visiting someone who has a gathering on their deck they shouldn’t be reminded of their disabilities due to the accident.

The deck can become accessible for them by installing a ramp at the side of the deck, having low-level steps and handles on the side that provides much-needed grip. The deck area should be widely spaced out with less furniture to help with their mobility and avoid any tripping. Lastly keeping the deck well lit can help them see better in case their vision has been impacted due to brain injury.

 

 

For Those With cystic fibrosis:

Cystic Fibrosis tends to impact the respiratory system of an individual. It impacts individuals of every age group and restricts their mobility to a great extent. They cannot carry out the most basic activities like walking from one place to another without wheezing and breathing out of their attached oxygen tank. This can be very dampening on the spirit of the affected individual.

 

When catering to individuals like these it is essential that the deck that is built is at a low level. You should not have a very high deck since it will be a tough task for them to climb the steps to the deck. There should be a ramp and some low height steps available in case they have a wheelchair that they want to take to the deck or are unable to climb high steps. It should also be kept in mind that anything like a bar b q should not be conducted live in front of them since it can worsen their respiratory issue.

For Those With Epilepsy:

Epileptic seizures have the ability to make the individual void of any level of functionality. The duration of the seizures is painful and traumatizing for the suffering individual. 

In order to improve accessibility, the deck should be a quiet calming place. Soothing sounds and relaxing fragrances can further help with the situation. There should be no loud sounds or beaming lights that are part of a gathering on the deck. This is because these can be triggers for the person suffering from Epilepsy.

For Those With Tourette Syndrome:

Tourette syndrome is what causes involuntary and repetitive muscle in individuals. In order to make the deck more accessible for those suffering from this the deck must be made safe. The boundaries must be high in order to prevent the individual from falling off from the deck in case there is some involuntary movement.

The steps of the stairs to the deck should be very stable and not slippery at all.It should be further supported with handles on both sides to hold or grip on to by the individual in case it is needed. 

For Those With Meniere’s Disease:

This is a condition that can cause sudden spells of vertigo and loss of hearing in an individual. In case the episode occurs the person can suffer a sudden loss in their sense of balance and can suffer from injuries in case the surroundings aren’t safe.

The boundaries of the deck must be high in order to prevent the individual from falling off from the deck. There should be minimal decorations of breakable materials like glass as they can hurt the individual. 

The steps of the stairs to the deck should be very stable and not slippery at all. It should be further supported with handles on both sides to hold or grip on to by the individual in case it is needed. 

Those with a Brain Hemorrhage:

A brain hemorrhage is a stroke of the brain that causes leakage of blood and can either land the person in a very bad state or be fatal. Since this can happen to almost anyone its impact should be on the overall accessibility of the deck. It should be a secure platform with high boundaries and steps that don’t pose an injury risk.

There should be not a lot of decoration in glass or metal that can injure an individual once they are going through this stroke. There should be comfortable seating available on which the person can be made to lie down in case they suffer from it until medical help is available.

For Those with a Brain Tumor:

A brain tumor can affect any part of an individual’s functionality based on which part of the brain it has attached itself to. In such a case an out of the ordinary event can be quite unpredictable so it is always better to be prepared in terms of safety and aesthetics.

It should be a secure platform with high boundaries and steps that don’t pose an injury risk. There should be not a lot of decoration in glass or metal that can injure an individual once they are going through this stroke. There should be comfortable seating available on which the person can sit or lie down to relax in case they suffer from any form of discomfort.

For Those with Parkinson’s Disease:

Parkinson’s disease is a condition that causes uncontrollable shaking, imbalance while walking, and lack of muscle coordination in an individual. This can affect their ability to walk within the house, climb steps, or even sit in a stable manner.

You should not have a very high deck since it will be a tough task for them to climb the steps to the deck. There should be a ramp and some low height steps available in case they have a wheelchair that they want to take to the deck or are unable to climb high steps.

There should be comfortable seating available on which the person can sit or lie down to relax if they begin to suffer from involuntary movements.

For Those With Chiari Malformation (CM):

Chiari Malformation impacts the affected person in multiple ways like loss of balances, hearing problems, weakening muscles, and digestive issues.

The deck should be a secure platform with high boundaries and steps that don’t pose an injury risk. There should not be a lot of decoration in glass or metal that can injure an individual once they are going through a lack of balance incident. There should be comfortable seating available on which the person can sit or lie down to relax in case they suffer from any form of discomfort.

There should be a bathroom on the deck in case they need to use it and don’t have to walk all the way to the house.

For Those with Spinal Cord Compression:

Spinal Cord Compressions result in severe back pain, numbness of legs and arms, and difficulty in walking for the affected individual.

Since it severely impacts the hand and leg muscles, individuals who suffer from it have trouble walking or using their arms to reach things. Some of them may even be fixated in a wheelchair if the condition has progressed. 

This would require the modification of the deck to make it more accessible. In this case, it can be done by installing low-level steps and a ramp. It should be ensured that both of these should be lined with silicone strips to prevent the individual from slipping and hurting themselves. The handles on the side should also be coated with rubber to provide a better grip. Lastly, the ramp should not be too steep and should have minute clips on the side to lock the wheelchair and mount it to the top of the deck

For Those with Infarction:

Infarction is the blockage of vessels that cause a stroke in the individual’s body. This mimics a brain stroke in multiple ways. Therefore the means to make decks accessible for these individuals will be the same as for those with a brain stroke.

The deck should be a secure platform with high boundaries and steps that don’t pose an injury risk. There should not be a lot of decoration in glass or metal that can injure an individual once they are going through this stroke. There should be comfortable seating available on which the person can be made to lie down in case they suffer from it until medical help is available.

For Those with Guillain-Barre Syndrome:

The Guillain Barre syndrome is an overactive immune system that starts to attack the healthy nerve cells in the body. It has the ability to impact people of every age group. Its symptoms can start from muscle stiffness or loss of sensation in body parts and can progress to limit the individual’s mobility. 

The boundaries of the deck must be high in order to prevent the individual from falling off from the deck. There should be minimal decorations of breakable materials like glass as they can hurt the individual. The steps of the stairs to the deck should be very stable and not slippery at all. It should be further supported with handles on both sides to hold or grip on to by the individual in case it is needed. 

For Those with Peripheral Neuropathy:

Peripheral neuropathy damages the process of message transmission from the brain to the rest of the body parts. This can impact their ability to see, talk, eat, walk or hear. Depending on the intensity of the condition these individuals need a lot of support from their loved ones and inclusion in every event.

 

This means there is a need to make decks more accessible for them. The deck should contain steps that are not high at all. Short and a low number of steps make it much more accessible to everyone. Furthermore, the handles on the side and the steps should contain a coating of rubber on them to provide for gripping while climbing the steps and avoid any mishaps. LED lights that can be obtained easily at any electrical workshop and can be installed by the workers who are constructing your deck. If the individual uses a wheelchair then it is integral that a sturdy, safe, and not too steep ramp is attached to the side of the deck for their assistance.

For Those with Myopathy:

Myopathy directly attacks the muscles of the body and reduces their ability to function to a great extent.

In this case, decks can be made more accessible by installing low-level steps and a ramp. It should be ensured that both of these should be lined with silicone strips to prevent the individual from slipping and hurting themselves. The handles on the side should also be coated with rubber to provide a better grip. Lastly, the ramp should not be too steep and should have minute clips on the side to lock the wheelchair and mount it to the top of the deck. 

For Those with Gout:

Gout is a type of arthritis that can also be seen as the inflammation of joints. This makes walking and climbing very difficult for individuals. In extreme cases, it can also lead to the individual being stuck in a wheelchair. Any exertion can lead to inflammation and a high amount of pain for the person suffering from it.

In order to make the deck more accessible for these people, it must be kept into account that they cannot climb high stairs or a lot of stairs. In either case, you should have a low-level deck, with few stairs each which is of a low height. In order to cater to those on a wheelchair, a sturdy and safe ramp must be installed next to the deck.

For Those That Have Had a Stroke:

A stroke stops the blood flow to the brain and that can result in considerable damage to the individual. In extreme conditions, this can even result in the death of the affected person. A stroke is sudden and no one can be prepared for it. However, the safety of the person can be ensured by keeping their surroundings free of any materials that can be harmful.

The boundaries of the deck must be high in order to prevent the individual from falling off from the deck. There should be minimal decorations of breakable materials like glass as they can hurt the individual. The steps of the stairs to the deck should be very stable and not slippery at all. It should be further supported with handles on both sides to hold or grip on to by the individual in case it is needed. 

For Those That Have Vertigo:

Vertigo in a nutshell is a feeling of constant dizziness especially at places of height. This can cause someone to fall down a flight of stairs and hurt themselves or just fall down. If your deck is not built with safety and the stairs are not secure with the border it can seriously injure individuals suffering from vertigo.

Hence your deck should have a very safe staircase with sides to hold in case the person suffering from vertigo needs support.

Information About Grants and Funding For Making Your Deck More Accessible

Usually while building an accessible deck that is easily usable by all, the costs incurred are quite high. It is not always possible to have a very high budget while building a house, therefore, it gets overwhelming to pay for the entire project without having to go overboard. There is always a high cost when you are building anything accessible for all those with disabilities and an aging population. Even though someone can’t pool together such a large amount of money to fund such a project, there are several ways that they can look at for support. Fortunately for such homeowners, the burden won’t always fall upon you to fund the project on an individual level, there are many organizations and private grants that you can apply for. Several NGOs and other trust organizations are providing financial help and ensuring that all the burden does not fall upon the person who is attempting to make the decks more accessible for all.  However, to win the award money from the grant, you need to show exactly how you plan on using the funds and why you should get the benefits over other contenders. Organizations are particularly interested to see what exactly your plans are, which is why they are extremely critical of what you write in your application. You can either apply for funds for an elderly in the house or you can apply for a handicapped person. Typically with disability-specific grants, you are asked to fill out an online application form rather than develop a personal proposal on your own.  The specifics of the qualification requirements vary among different individual aid programs. In short, you will be asked to demonstrate your condition and show them that you are a legitimate and a worthy contestant for acquiring the home modification loans.  In many cases, the modification plans are rejected based on relevancy. Therefore, ensure that each one of your plans clearly outlines the functional needs and the aesthetic needs separately to avoid any miscommunications. Any remodeling projects that you wish to carry out for aesthetic reasons and do not have any effect on the disabled will jeopardize your qualification for the grant money.   You are also required to show that you are a fully qualified and certified contractor to carry out this construction project or that you have hired someone to do so on your behalf. Also, it’s better to run your plans by a contractor before submitting them to the organization.  While you can always hire a handyman to carry out small remodeling projects at homes, keep in mind that you cannot do so with most grants. All organizations have pretty strict rules as to who you can hire to work for you if they grant you the money.  The following resources provide grants for you to make an accessible deck for your house and enlist a safe and comfortable environment for all. All of them have little different eligibility criteria and specific deadlines so don’t forget to go through the checklist. 

The think alive achievement grant 

This particular grant caters to the young population under 21 years of age who are a victim of some accident or are born with a disability from birth. This grant can be used for small modifications around the house, such as building a new deck for ease.  However, they offer a maximum of $500 to help children achieve one targeted goal. For example, if a child with a disability wants to have a safer deck so that he can pursue his passion for a project, he is eligible to receive $500 for remodeling of that area. 

Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps 

The rebuilding America program takes pride in helping homes with a disabled individual to remodel or modify their existing decks with a more accessible one. They have a huge portfolio of working with families to make their homes safer and more accessible. 

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 

The US Department of Veterans Affairs has three different grants for homes with special needs, the Specially Adapted Housing Grant and the Special Housing Adaptation Grant. Those who qualify for these grants can use the money to purchase a new home, construct one, or modify the existing one. 

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

The main objective of the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant program is to provide the veterans with a barrier-free life and live the independent life that they are used to from the beginning but are not able to enjoy now. These grants can be used to make accessible decks help with mobility around the house.  However, these grants are only applicable for officers who are wheelchair-bound and the grant money is around $63,780. The SAH grant is awarded to veterans who have incurred an injury due to their military services, which entitles them for compensation for permanent or total disability due to:
  • The loss of either one or both of the lower extremities, including locomotion without the help of a wheelchair, braces, canes, or clutch 
  • Blindness in either one or both eyes, light perception, plus loss of one or both lower extremities
  • The loss of one lower extremity along with residuals of organic disease or injury, or the loss of one upper extremity, which has a direct or indirect effect on the balance or propulsion of the locomotion without the help of a wheelchair, braces, canes, or clutch
  • The loss of both upper extremities, such as the use of elbows or the arms

Special Home Adaptations (SHA) Grant

The special home adaptation grant is usually used to help the veterans who want to increase their mobility in their homes and currently it is limited to $12,756. The grant is applicable for all those who have a disability connected to the military service, which compensates for:

  • Blindness in either one or both eyes with a 5/200 visual acuity or less, 
  • Anatomical loss of both hands or upper extremities below the elbow. 

U.S. Department of Urban Housing and Development: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

The CDBG program is a quite flexible program that provides communities with full financial resources to address all development concerns, including kitchens, decks, and bedrooms. They started in 1974 and are one of the longest run programs. They have annual grant programs that provide financial aids to several people each year. 

Medicaid & Home and Community-Based Services

The Medicaid and Home and Community based services come under HCBS waiver programs and they have several services. They provide a combination of traditional medical services, such as dental, regular checkups, nursing services, and also non-medical services, including but not limited to remodeling of decks, bedrooms, kitchens, and other essentials to facilitate the handicapped and the elders. 

Conclusion

Decks are a place to feel relaxed and enjoy with your loved ones. You should not feel left out and unable to enjoy because of your limitations. Therefore it is necessary to make your decks accessible for all individuals to provide them with a feeling of inclusion and acceptance.

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