How ADA Compliant Door Latches Improve Senior Living Designs

doctor discussing arthritis with patient.People with arthritis, and other debilitating medical issues need ADA compliant senior living friendly designs for door latches. They often have a hard time performing seemingly easy tasks. They can’t open a bag of chips. They only wear clothes they can pull on, because their arthritic wrists won’t let them handle buttons.

They have to weigh the consequences of opening the door and being in pain versus just suffering through the inconvenience. This is a problem. They don’t have to eat chips or wear button-up shirts. But at some point in their everyday life, they’ll have to go through a door, sometimes more than one.

Many doors are designed with the able-bodied in mind. Grabbing door handles and turning doorknobs are skills that come to toddlers. At age two, kids learn to unscrew jars and manipulate small objects. Arthritis or other forms of disability take away that simple power.

Arthritis is often associated with seniors, but it’s a condition that can happen to anyone at any age. Doors can be easily retrofitted with arthritis friendly door latches. Here are some options:

1. Doorknob Grippers

These grippers fit over existing doorknobs. They make it easier to grasp door handles and reduce stress. Because they don’t require a special tool to install, the convenience factor is high.

2. Doorknob Extensions

Door knob extensions offer a 5-inch lever that goes over the existing doorknob so it’s easier to grab and pull down, instead of turning. It requires less pressure to open the door, so it’s good for people with arthritis, one arm, or those who have limited range of motion.

3. Ergonomic Door Handles

Traditional door knobs require gripping and turning. For very mild arthritis, doorknob grippers and extensions will do the trick. But more severe arthritis requires a different approach altogether. Many times arthritis gets worse instead of better, so skimping on doorknobs will not work. Enter Ultra Latch.

Ultra Latch is a special type of doorknob designed by SOSS. It is ADA-compliant and only requires a simple touch; no turning required. It’s also designed to fit human hands, comfortable, and comes in different styles to match any existing door.

Ultra Latch is ideal for senior living communities and people recovering from long-term disability. Doors that have Ultra Latch installed can be opened using just fingers, an elbow, or the hip.

Vancouver has the right idea when it comes to door knobs. In Vancouver, door knobs are being phased out. Since March 2013, new housing in the city is required to install levers on doors and faucets instead of traditional doorknobs.

For seniors to lead productive lives, they’ll need doors that are easy to open. It’s such a simple idea yet it’s surprising to see why most doorknobs aren’t designed to accommodate seniors or people with disabilities.

Architects designing homes and senior living communities should take a look at the Ultra Latch as one possible solution and creating a better living space.