Nik Lamansky assembles a custom ramp system made from lightweight aluminum for easy transport. The aluminum also reduces slippery surfaces during wet weather.

Nik Lamansky assembles a custom ramp system made from lightweight aluminum for easy transport. The aluminum also reduces slippery surfaces during wet weather.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Accessibility features help people stay in their homes

By: Andy Kozlowski | Metro | Published May 11, 2022

 Nik Lamansky, with Mobility Plus in Troy, has a variety of scooters to assist those with limited mobility.

Nik Lamansky, with Mobility Plus in Troy, has a variety of scooters to assist those with limited mobility.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


METRO DETROIT — Many people cherish their homes and wish to age in place, but physical disabilities can make independent living difficult. A house that once felt safe and secure can suddenly become constrictive and even dangerous if the appropriate changes aren’t made.

Luckily, there are many features that can be installed throughout a home to improve its accessibility, functionality and overall safety.

“We see a variety of challenges from folks at home,” said Nik Lamansky, owner at Troy-based Mobility Plus, in an email. “One of the most common is a person will get home from the hospital or assisted living facility and realize they can no longer get in their house. Even one or two steps up to a porch and into a front door can cause major accessibility issues for someone who uses a wheelchair or a walker. They need a ramp, and they need it now.

“Another recurring issue we see is people have trouble getting in and out of chairs or couches in their homes, especially after a surgery, dealing with an illness or as they age. We provide lift chairs to folks to help them stay comfortable, accessible and safe in their homes,” Lamansky said. “These lift chairs are life-changing. The chairs take the person from laying, to sitting, to standing, all with the push of a button.”

And then there’s the matter of getting outside.

“They want a way to enjoy the fresh air, the May flowers and the Michigan summers. It’s tough if you have mobility issues. A walk around the block can feel like climbing Mount Everest. So we provide scooters that provide people with limited mobility a chance to ‘get out.’ The scooters become their new legs, and with that, they have a new sense of independence and freedom,” Lamansky said. “What used to be impossible becomes possible, and with that, quality of life improves and you almost have a trickle-down effect. Clients become more independent, they become more confident, they are happier and the people around them are happier. The transition is incredible.”

Another area that Mobility Plus focuses on is the bathroom.

“We install grab bars, walk-in bathtub solutions. We even help with toilet lifts,” Lamansky said, noting that grab bars and poles are recommended wherever there is a transition in the home, such as a grab pole at the bedside, bars and poles to get on and off the toilet and in and out of the shower in the bathroom, and bars in the kitchen for additional support.

Justin O’Brien, vice president of retail sales at Kurtis Kitchen & Bath in Livonia, said that his business also receives requests for special accommodations in the bathroom.

“Clients frequently request grab bars for stability entering and exiting the shower or tub,” O’Brien said in an email. “Clients also frequently request a bench or seat be installed in the shower to allow for seated bathing, which then requires a separate handheld shower for this purpose.

“We suggest curbless shower pan builds to allow for easier entry into the shower, especially for those with mobility limitations,” O’Brien added. “We also suggest and spec tile with a more abrasive surface, and suggest staying away from selecting glossy tile for bathroom floors to avoid slip-and-fall situations.”

Lamansky said that ramps with railings can improve access both inside and outside the home, as can stairlifts conveying people with mobility issues between floors, whether it’s the ground floor and the basement or the ground floor and upstairs. And when it comes to scooters, there are different models including three-wheeled scooters for moving about the house, or larger outdoor scooters for strolls around the block.

Installation of home accessibility items can be a bit complex, however.

“Most of what Kurtis can offer for aging in place must be installed within the context of a full bathroom gut/renovation,” O’Brien said. “Kurtis doesn’t offer the install of aging-in-place apparatus unless it’s in the context of a full renovation project.”

Lamansky said each client’s situation needs to be considered on its own terms.

“Every home is different, and every person has unique needs. So we pride ourselves in creating custom solutions for every client,” Lamansky said. “Mobility Plus handles all installation of products and solutions. We act as your mobility consultants, recommending the most sensible, cost-effective options to keep you safe and in your home. We also try to be sensitive to timeframes, understanding that people want and need these items as soon as possible.

“Life after the addition of mobility or accessibility equipment can be incredibly positive,” Lamansky added. “We give people their lives back. There is nothing more satisfying than helping a person to live a better quality life. Some of our clients have been in their homes for 50-plus years, and that’s where they want to stay to enjoy their life. We make that possible. In many cases we can improve their quality of life, give them more independence, and allow them to live more safely. It’s a win-win-win situation.”

Mobility Plus is located at 1393 Wheaton Ave., suite 800, in Troy, and is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with weekends by appointment. For more information, call (248) 535-2960.

Kurtis Kitchen & Bath is located at 12500 Merriman Road in Livonia and is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call (734) 522-7600.