I have another request for advice on another assistive project for my 95 year old father. (And BTW, he has enthusiastically adopted the recommendations for baskets on his walker which were suggested in a previous post, and has gotten a number of compliments on how useful they are, so that worked out well.)
Now that it’s nice weather (holding breath that there’s no more snow for Michigan), my father is spending time out in his workshop. He uses his walker to get from the house to the shed, perhaps about 25 - 30 feet from the house, traversing a few feet across a concrete patio and then a longer stretch of grass.
There is nothing he can hold onto or grab if he slips on wet grass and/or loses his balance. Given that he’s suffered a broken hip in each of the last 2 years, I have a high level of concern for balance and stability as he navigates his way to his workshop.
Not going out to the workshop will never be an option he'll consider.
The path he takes is also the only way for the lawn mowers to get to the other side of the back yard, so whatever I have installed needs to provide passage for a commercial lawn mower (yeah, progress - he’s no longer mowing his own lawn!).
I’ve been concerned about the instability of a walker on grass and want some support for him but haven’t figured out a good method. I’ve also unsuccessfully made a case for grab bars along the back door but he claims he doesn’t need them (you can get an idea what I’m dealing with from that attitude).
I’ve thought of a fence from the house to the workshop, which would provide posts and rails that he could grab in case he lost his balance. A gate that swung open could allow lawn mower passage.
But I know he’ll object to what he considers blockage to the back yard, even though the only thing going through the fence would be the mowers, not him.
He’ll also claim that it would just have to be torn down after he’s gone and the house is sold. But that’s another issue.
I’d like to have his agreement and hopefully his cooperation if possible.
I probably won’t do the work myself but will have to hire someone from his church. The fellow who now provides lawn service is also a commercial landscaper so I assume he would have post digging equipment, if that turns out to be a good option.
Any thoughts on what can be constructed/installed/created to provide a lifeline for safe passage for my father and his walker from his house to his workshop?
Again, thanks for any suggestions.This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
How about a bad ass scooter..
Other then a T-Bar or a Zipline, you didn't leave to many options.This message has been edited. Last edited by: ron45,
dig in a paver path. after tamping and laying, maybe a quarter to a half inch higher than the thatch in the lawn. the mower won't whack them, the bump to the operator won't wreck his back, and the pavers will drain after a rain.
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Ron, he already has a scooter, so using it for transift would allow him to have more fun with it. We'd just have to figure out a way to secure it on the patio to prevent theft.
I never thought of it serving a short distance transit purpose. We could even store a walker in the workshop to solve the issue of mobility in the shop.
As to T-bars or zip-lines, I will withhold that suggestion as I know he'd love to have a zip line and play on it. I can just imagine him swinging out to the shed
Swschrad, a paver path was my original thought but Dad nixed it. That doesn't mean I've given up though. I still think it's the easiest and quickest. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing any options.
Thanks to you both for your suggestions.
Several park walking paths (that are not concrete) seem to use a crushed/pulverized limestone or other fine rock forms a fairly solid surface, cheaper than concrete. The finer crushed stone tends to interlock and works even wheelchairs.
Another crazy idea might be a slightly raised walkway (just slight soil raised above existing sod for drainage) with wide strips of "used" nylon carpet, flipped over so the jute is up. We had a local gardening lady use this as walk ways in her garden. It took years to show any deterioration and tended to stay put, plus keep other plants from growing through it.
These options do not address a handrail issue, but used wheel walkers seem always available, and he could have one just specifically for outdoor and shop use?
Hello, Conrad. Are you back at home now?
My first thought was that limestone would be hard to traverse but if it's well compacted that would make a big difference. The limestone I've seen in commercial areas is loose and unstable.
I have never thought of carpet but your post reminded me that indoor/outdoor carpet might also be an option. Jute has some natural properties that have been used by organic gardeners but I don't recall offhand what those uses were.
I'm going to check this out; maybe I can find some jute at English Gardens, or maybe I could luck out and find some at a thrift shop. It wouldn't require too much to create a path.
If I can create a stable path, I wouldn't be as worried about handrails.
We're due for a visit to a local dog park for some pet therapy, so I'll see if they have any walkways that might inspire me. Or I'll check at some of the local parks, although as I recall most of their paths were just packed down dirt.
I'm still considering the idea of pavers as long as I don't have to cut and lift the sod!
Thanks for the suggestions, and hope you had a good stay in your winter home.
Which home? lol! Currently in the mountains for a couple weeks.
The lady that used the "used nylon/jute back carpet" cut it in long strips, about 3-4 feet wide. Flipped it so the jute was up as it looked more natural as paths in her garden space. So it did not matter what the color or pattern of the carpet was. People used to drop off the cut rolls (when they removed it) in front of her home, as everyone knew about her path and garden walk passion.
Nice thing about is it could be lifted out at any time, and removed to recreate the lawn instead of the expense and permanence of pavers or concrete/cement. My experience with many of the pavers (unless they were on a good base and interlocking) was they would shift with freeze thaw and could create a stumble hazard. Rather unforgiving if he did take a fall too?
It would be interesting to advertise on FreeCycle or something similar for jute backed carpet to be dropped off at my home and see how long it would take the nosey neighbors to complain to code enforcement .
Pavers do shift with freezing and thawing and can also be covered by growth from agressive plants nearby. Some of mine are completely covered and need to be rescued.
In Dad's case, it would likely be the lawn that began growing over the pavers.
Still, I am partial to them, but I'll have to think about the options for his safety path a little bit more. He still hasn't agreed to it so there's that obstacle to conquer . I'd like to have him on board with the concept before I begin the work.
Thanks again for the suggestions.
I still think the best option would be the scooter even if you had to add a small ramp. This way you could have the scooter inside instead of on the patio.
Ron, I don't understand how your last suggestion would work.
The scooter would have to be on the patio, close to the back door, in order to be available to ride to the shed. There is no place to put the scooter in that area unless it's in the shed, which would require walking to the shed to get the scooter. By that time, it's not needed.
The scooter now is stored in the garage at the other end of the house and is available to just drive out the driveway and into the street, which was the original intention.
Am I missing something in your suggestion?
Just a thought.
Could you add a door to the garage.?
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