Easy Access Step for Elderly Mother

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Momzilla

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2005
Posts
7
I know if there is a solution to this situation, this would be the place I could find it.  :)  I'm hoping you all can help.

We are wanting to purchase a travel trailer to store at a campground at the beach.  Before we do so, however, we need to come up with a step that will make it easier for my elderly mother to get into the camper.

She's 77 and while in good health for the most part, her mobility is a bit restricted.  Steps are hard for her to manuver but not impossible.  I'm am wanting to figure out a way to adapt steps to make it easier for her to get in and out of the camper.

I'm thinking some type of handrail would be required to help her with her balance.  She has a hard time lifting her foot/leg very high.  Getting into the Odyssey van is 'OK' but she's not able to just 'hop in' like most people.

Has anyone adapted or used a special set of steps?  Any suggestions?  I'm at a loss right now - and we want to be able to include her in our camping experience.  She used to camp all the time when my brother and I were kids - I want her to be able to enjoy it again.

Thanks!
Barb A
Charleston, WV
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,987
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
I know you can get lifts or wheel chair ramps installed, but that may be overkill for your Mom.  Would a good handrail be sufficient?  That's all that was needed for our occasional "mobility impaired" visotor.  Fold-down handrails are available and usually easy to add on.

If you are going to park the RV for extended periods anyway, why not just build  aset ofsturdy & broad  wooden steps and leave it onsite?
 

Karl

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Posts
5,154
Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer

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Sportdog

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Posts
9
Location
Door County, Wisconsin
I made a set of steps for our trailer to make it easier for wife [hip replacement] and our dogs who don't like the steep and shallow fold out steps.
I made steps that fit over the fold out metal steps. The steps are made of wood with deep treads [16"], the stringers are mortised to accept the treads and the treads have tenons which pass through the stringer and are held in place with wedges. The topmost tread just sits on the topmost metal tread. I know this sounds pretty involved but any carpenter or cabinetmaker could make these in a couple of hours. The whole assembly weighs around 35# and knocks down to be stored in the small pass through storage bin in our trailer. Set up and break down takes less that 5 minutes and once in place they are very sturdy, requiring no bolting or bracing. After making these many other campers would stop by to look at and ask about these steps. Many said they were going to make their own and some asked if could make and sell them but I'm afraid the liability risks are just too great for me to make them for sale. I could make up a drawing if anyone is interested.

Sportdog
 

Momzilla

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2005
Posts
7
Sportdog said:
I made a set of steps for our trailer to make it easier for wife [hip replacement] and our dogs who don't like the steep and shallow fold out steps.
I made steps that fit over the fold out metal steps. The steps are made of wood with deep treads [16"], the stringers are mortised to accept the treads and the treads have tenons which pass through the stringer and are held in place with wedges. The topmost tread just sits on the topmost metal tread. I know this sounds pretty involved but any carpenter or cabinetmaker could make these in a couple of hours. The whole assembly weighs around 35# and knocks down to be stored in the small pass through storage bin in our trailer. Set up and break down takes less that 5 minutes and once in place they are very sturdy, requiring no bolting or bracing. After making these many other campers would stop by to look at and ask about these steps. Many said they were going to make their own and some asked if could make and sell them but I'm afraid the liability risks are just too great for me to make them for sale. I could make up a drawing if anyone is interested.

Sportdog

I'd love to see a pic or drawing! 

~~ Barb
 

Momzilla

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2005
Posts
7
Karl said:
Barb,

Don't know if this would be a total solution, but Camping World has an exterior hand grip http://www.campingworld.com/browse/skus/index.cfm?deptID=&subOf=94,3&skunum=26063 that may help. Mine is larger (see picture) and folds away when not in use, but it came with the coach so I can't tell you where to look for it. Maybe others can tell you where to get it.

Hope this helps :)

Thanks Karl!  I think that this exterior grip would be good in combination with some kind of modified steps.  The hand grip would help with balance for her.  This is a definite good idea.  ;D
 

Momzilla

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2005
Posts
7
RV Roamer said:
I know you can get lifts or wheel chair ramps installed, but that may be overkill for your Mom.  Would a good handrail be sufficient?  That's all that was needed for our occasional "mobility impaired" visotor.  Fold-down handrails are available and usually easy to add on.

If you are going to park the RV for extended periods anyway, why not just build  aset ofsturdy & broad  wooden steps and leave it onsite?

This would be a definite good plan.  We're not planning on traveling with the RV - just calling ahead and having it put on a site for a few weeks at a time at our favorite campground.  We could store the steps inside when not using. 

If anyone has done this and has pics or drawing specs for suggestions, I'd appreciate seeing/getting them.

~~
Barb
Charleston, WV
 

Lowell

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Posts
2,221
Location
Tempe, AZ
When we bought our travel trailer, we had the dealer install a large handle that folds against the side of the trailer when traveling. Ii don't have  a picture of it but you see this handle used on a lot of trailers.  I suspect that many dealers have them in stock.  It only took the dealer about 5 minutes to install and it makes it much more convient for entering the trailer.  As i recall, the price was around $70.
Jake
 
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