The International Day of People with Disabilities was last month and I’ve been thinking about inclusivity and how the travelling experience of those guests must be in different parts of the world.
Whether you provide your house rules in Braille for guests with visual impairments or you have added grab bars to the bathroom for people with reduced mobility, I’m really curious to learn more about your experience hosting these guests.
I think it would be interesting to collectively come up with some insights that could help ensure that guests with disabilities are embraced and able to travel more freely.
Have you ever hosted a guest with disabilities? Are you and your home prepared for hosting these guests? If so, do you highlight this in your listing?
While my listing is not ADA compliant, I included a grab bar in the shower and by the toilet, and handrails for the four inch landing. When I was researching grab bars for the shower, 1/3 of injuries from falling in bathrooms happen to young people, so I thought if it keeps one person from falling it would be worth it. It also doubles as a shelf for holding shampoo or soap. Consequently, it has attracted a several guest who have some restrictions with mobility, and just need something to hold on to in the shower. They usually don't mention anything and just go by the pictures. And while its not ADA compliant I enjoy accommodating as many people as possible.
@John5097 , Not being Compliant isnt the end all to be all, you are doing things that make access safer, there are small things that can be done that help folks that make a big difference and your considering them, thats the way to do it!
Funny you should mention Kids getting injured most, the only injury we ever had here out of hundreds of bookings is a young pre college kid that ran up the stairs, stubbed her foot and bruised some of her body parts. Her Mom asked us to think about putting a carpet runner on the stairs to soften the impact if someone fell, I gave her the best "Im so sorry, I will certainly consider that" I could muster instead of telling her
"Mom, your 17.5 year old daughter who is applying to nearly Ivy league schools should have learned by now not to jack rabbit run up and down stairs especially in a place she has never been! "
Moms helicopter blade was spinning to fast to approach her with that thought so I just thanked them for choosing us for their stay and wished them to have a great day, I just hope she doesn't choose one of our local schools.... Stay well, JR
@Melodie-And-John0 oh that's hilarious! In general I'm surprised its not code to have some kind of grab bar in the shower area. I included a lot of things that helps, good lighting with easy to reach switches, lighting for landing, and the shower floor is non slick textured and I included the optional drain cover. I think what I read as young people meant someone 30 or 40, or like the guest you described. Appreciate your comment. I think a lot more people with limited mobility would like it, even though I checked the stairs check box for four inch landing that likely limits the search, so maybe the option to have one step, or less than three steps, as a lot of people can get up a few steps but not a flight of stairs. This was also my first year so had mostly very young guest without problems.
I completely agree that something that seems like a small change for us can make a big difference in someone else's experience!
It's really interesting to know that simply adding grab bars in key spots has increased the amount of bookings you get from people with reduced mobility. And all kinds of guests get to benefit from it should they ever need it 😊
Yes, I suppose I didn't think about the grab bars as increasing bookings. It was just rewarding to have such nice guest. I also included a parking pass for a county park at the beach that is ADA accessable with ramps and bathrooms so they really had a great trip. They were still very active. All the minor touches do make a difference though that is essential for me, as its not uncommon for guest to leave 5 star review and check everything.. sparkling clean, quick response, thoughtful touches, stylish place, local tips, but not outstanding hospitality. So anytime I can make a difference in someones trip its nice to feel appreciated for the effort.
That's really sweet and thoughtful, @John5097! It sounds like a great approach to hosting 😊
You mentioned your listing is not ADA compliant, but are there any particular guidelines you check in order to make accessibility improvements?
Hi @Liv yes its still very rewarding to think of that couple.
For ADA the main obstacle is the one landing, so really no getting around the one step at this point. For the shower I did research handicap access requirements that have specific places and minimum and maximum hight requirements for grab bars. As I recall one was vertical by the shower entrance and the other horizontal along the length of the wall that were both really low to pull themselves up from a bench or if someone fell. But it just being a large walk in shower already makes it more accessible, and the grab bar just beneath the knobs was just a natural place, and would imagine most guest use it without a thought. All of these details do take more planning as I included studs and blocking as part of the framing to provide a sturdy backing for the screws. The directions included a kit for installing with just tiles and no blocking but I would not want it fail and be the reason someone hurt themselves.
Additionally, even though its an older 1960s house, building codes have changed and houses now have to built up about 10 feet from the ground because of storm surge from hurricanes. I'm in a flood zone, which is the primary reason I created the rental. And if I get enough damage that exceeds 50% of the value of the house to repair the entire house has to be torn down or elevated, which would then include a flight of stairs. Although I now would be more inclined to try and include an elevator.
This discussion has inspired me go back and rephrase some of my descriptions. I want guest with some limited mobility to know that I'm trying to accomidate them, and would want them to reach out to me with any questions. The only time someone has had questions it was for their mom, but they had to cancel because of covid.
Thanks again for creating the discussion. Appologies for the long post but in short all of this takes a ton of planning and so many details.
@Liv @Melodie-And-John0 @Helen427
These are some pictures. I started researching grabbars when I was framing it out that added more flexibility. I happened to spot the garb bar with the shelf when shopping and it seemed perfect, it would also be more favorable for retrofit. I should have added my situation is the same as all of Florida and up the coast subject to strict federal building codes regarding flooding and elevation. When I got put in a flood zone it changed everything, and likely will need to rebuild, and holding off on any more renovations.
For fun the neighbors were renting a house next door and had an Airbnb and pet goats and one day just walked in the door. 🙂
I love projects like this though, including research, even though it takes more effort and time.
Love the renovation @John5097 and the goat!!!! It is always nice when you can put things where you want not just where you can catch a stud! Some of the new zip toggle fasteners do make it possible to safely hang things off of sheetrock if you do it right. Very handy! JR
@Melodie-And-John0 the visit by the goats were quite a surprise! Before that they were very shy! I'm glad you responded. I was lucky this area was already converted into an apartment back in the 70s. It was nice to bring everything up to code, as a lot of improvements weren't done right. Also should have added that if any improvements exceed 50% of the value of the dwelling the entire dwelling has to be elivated to meets federal codes that are strictly enforced, so this was as much as I could do. One of my neighbors uses a wheel chair, likley from a spinal injury and not sure if they were subjected to the same code requirements. I'll ask him next time because they did a complete renovation, although they were just outside of the flood zone that but will be in one starting January 31 of this month, when the newest flood zone changes go into effect, that also drastically changes flood insurance rates.
This is the ocean coming right up to the door step three years in a row. This year there a couple was on the honeymoon when a Cat 1 brushed us by that caused all that power outages up the coast. Was a nurse and joked about the covid hurricane honeymoon. So its a risk that if I'll be able to rent it out long enough before it floods.
Wow, thanks for sharing so much useful information @John5097!
It's good to know that there are so many details to think about when doing a renovation for accessibility.
It does sounds like it's important to do some research beforehand, I'm sure there are several things someone wouldn't think of unless they had experienced the need of it themselves.
As @Melodie-And-John0 already knows, I'm a big fan of before and after pictures, so I really enjoyed seeing those photos. Especially the one with the goat ❤️ 🐐
Due to it's hillside location, steep driveway, and the requirement to climb stairs, my guesthouse is not suitable for most people who mobility challenges, and I try to call this out in my listing details and show it in the listing phots. However, once inside of the spaces, the doorway widths are at least 32 inches/0.81 mtrs., grab bars are in the bath area, non-glossy floor tile, and there is enough bathroom space for a walker.
Two out of three of our suites are not ADA=able though we do what we are able to make them better than they could be otherwise. Some places just lend themselves better than others ADA wise @Debra300 , all you can do is the best you can to make it as safe and accessible as you can and it sounds like you do. Keep it up, little things matter. Stay well, JR