I have spent a lot of time with my parents lately. They are in their 70’s and 80’s and having some difficulties with staying on top of things- not because they are ill (though my father is) but just because they don’t have the dexterity they once had. Simple things like opening cabinets and doors are a little harder. Arthritis, weaker muscles, things like that have begun to hamper everyday tasks.
Simple changes like door handles and knobs can make things so much easier. Take a look at the door below:
The door knob is round. Simply by installing a lever type handle instead of the round knob can enable someone with limited dexterity to open doors easier. (See the lever handle in the photo below? Much easier.)
(By the way, Tuesday Morning is getting new doorknobs in at great prices.)
Something else to consider- cabinet handles. By using a U-shaped handle, fingers can slide in behind and open the cabinet easily.
According to the ADA (www.ada.gov) codes of Federal Standards for Accessible Design:
“4.13.9* Door Hardware. Handles, pulls, latches, locks, and other operating devices on
accessible doors shall have a shape that is easy to grasp with one hand and does not
require tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate. Lever-operated
mechanisms, push-type mechanisms, and U-shaped handles are acceptable designs.
When sliding doors are fully open, operating hardware shall be exposed and usable from
both sides. Hardware required for accessible door passage shall be mounted no higher
than 48 in (1220 mm) above finished floor.”
More and more hardware accessories are being designed for limited dexterity. Even the big box retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, even Walmart carries reasonable, nice looking lever type and U-shaped door hardware. Small, yet functional changes can make the ability to “handle” the limitations that gradually happen as our bodies grow older just a little bit easier and I am all for that. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Take care.