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Churches can present one area of challenge for accessibility in the community for elderly and individuals with disabilities.  This can be a particular challenge for churches considering the often older building structures and architectural obstacles for individuals who are elderly or disabled.  Here are a few solutions that can help to create a more accessible and inclusive environment in your spiritual community:
SCALAMOBIL solution for church accessibilityScalamobil (Mechanical stair climber) – The Scalamobil stair lift system provides portable accessibility to challenging stairways which can either interface with manual wheelchairs for easy lifting, or can interface with an integrated seat that the individual can transfer onto/off.  This system is ideal for narrow stairways, and preserves the aesthetics of older churches.  The system provides a motorized lift mechanism which assists the caregiver in easily lifting individuals up and down the stairs.
Other options for managing stairs – visit these web pages (options for managing stairs outside the home – options for managing stairs inside the home) for an overview of other options for managing stairs both indoors and outdoors for other accessible stair management options for churches.  Having a professional consultation is helpful, as there can be many options for accessibility solutions which are dependent on the environment and the needs of your community.
Automatic door openers – Automatic door opener systems provide accessible entry for independent and welcoming access for all individuals.
Increased lighting and visual cues – this can be a simple solution to increase the safety and accessibility of your church and can often be limited in many of the older church structures.  Lighting improvement in stairways as well as bathrooms can provide improved access and safety.
Flip down grab bar next to the toilet in the bathroom – Flip down grab bars comply and exceed the standards of ADA accessibility for bathrooms.  These systems provide the advantage for individuals to open the space for safe transfers to and from the toilet, and fold down once seated on the toilet to provide support and improved access for balance and weight shifting needed for toileting tasks.  They also provide a great support for individuals who need a strong support to push up from sitting to standing from the toilet.
Automatic soap dispensers – Automatic soap dispensers, automatic hand dryers, and motion sensor or lever style faucets provide easy access and usability by individuals with all abilities. 
Retrofitting, and modifying older structures can be a challenge in general and a great challenge for accessibility.  Hopefully these ideas are helpful in finding solutions to make your church or faith community more welcoming and accessible for individuals with disabilities or elderly.  BILD – Bridgeway Independent Living Desings, LLC has provided professional consultations and modifications to numerous churches and communities in the Wisconsin and Illinois areas.  Please contact us today if you’re interested in looking further at making your church or synagogue more accessible.  Contact BILD at 262-671-2032 or 847-453-8866, or visit us at