Home for Life™ Essentials:

A Home for Life™ will have one or more of the following three options for vertical circulation:

No steps or stairs

  1. The following areas of the home – entrance, kitchen, living area, full (3-piece) bathroom, bedroom and laundry area* – are all located on the same level

No more than one flight of straight-run stairs connecting the areas of the home mentioned in (a. i.), which

  1. are a minimum of 40” wide
  2. contain no curves or winders
  3. have flush nosing (to reduce the risk of trips and falls)
  4. have a full-length wall along at least one side of the entire stairwell and 10’ of clear space at the bottom of the stairs.  These features are required to accommodate an inclined platform lift (designed to carry someone in a wheelchair).  A load-bearing wall is ideal, but not necessary.  Newer models of platform lifts mount to the stairs.

5’ x 5’ stacking closets or pantries built for future conversion to an elevator.

  1. Some newer styles of vertical lifts/elevators do not require a separate machine room or pit.  It is strongly recommended to work with an elevator or lift company in designing stacking closets.

*All rooms or areas mentioned in this list should meet Home for Life™ requirements.

A Note About Stairs

If you cannot include the accessible three piece bathroom, bedroom, or laundry area on the  main floor, you can locate them on another floor, provided you follow these guidelines for stairs. To simplify the process for installing a future chair-lift:

Stairs should be 40 inches wide and straight-run (no turns or landings).

  • A five-foot by five-foot “landing space” at the top and bottom of the stairs is preferable so that the user can transfer into and out of the chair safely.
  • Electrical outlets at the top and bottom of the stairs may be required.
  • Reinforce the walls with plywood along the full length of the stairs.
  • There should be plenty of lighting at the top and bottom of the stairs.

An alternative to these modifications is to construct 5-foot by 5-foot stacking closets that can be converted to an elevator shaft if required.