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Impact: Ardmore!

Sep 2013

A voracious reader, avid learner, and well-known self-advocate, Ramona has long enjoyed hanging out at the local library or taking a community college course from time to time. But she had never stayed in a house by herself or taken a bath on her own until a few months ago.

As someone who has spent her life in a wheelchair, Ramona works hard to live as independently as she can. And now that Ardmore has moved her into a newly remodeled, accessible home, complete with automatic doors and a ceiling-mounted tub lift, she is enthusiastically breaking new ground in her determined drive for self-sufficiency.

Ardmore’s facilities director Krista Gronlund spearheaded the renovation project, motivated in large part by the challenge of building what she calls the “best bathroom ever.”

“The idea was to create a wheelchair-friendly environment that Ramona and her housemate could navigate on their own. That meant combining two back-to-back bathrooms and closets to make one big, perfect space.”

The renovations included widening the doorways, installing an accessible toilet and building a wheel‐in shower. To accommodate the mechanical Hoyer lift which allows Ramona to get in and out of the tub, an old‐fashioned styled clawfoot tub with very modern features was purchased.

In addition to the bathroom upgrades, Ramona’s new home incorporates safety and mobility features like hardwood flooring in place of carpet and remotely controlled access doors that open onto the front walk and back patio. Ardmore is seeking funding to retrofit the home’s kitchen, with motorized, adjustable-height cabinets and work surfaces – an idea that originated with an ambitious “Smart Home” project in Boulder Colorado, which has become a national model for adaptive design.

These advanced accommodations have given Ramona a new lease on life. “I love living here because I don’t have to wait for help anymore,” she beams. “I can finally do things on my terms and that’s wonderful.”

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