Adapting A Home For Disability
For disabled people, there are many accommodations that will need to be made. These changes mean that people with a range of disabilities can live happy and productive lives, just like their able-bodied friends, family, and colleagues. One of the biggest changes to be made, alongside vehicular changes, is adapting a home for disability. Depending on the type of disability that you have, there are many adjustments that you can make to ensure that you’re as comfortable and independent as possible at home.
The first thing that you should do when adapting a home for disability is speak to a fully qualified and registered occupational therapist. Occupational therapists work with their clients to ensure that they live the best lives possible through positive interventions that assist with any number of conditions. They can assess your home and advise on the best changes for you and your personal situation. The best thing to remember is that every person is different, even if they have the same condition.
In practical terms, every room in your house can be amended in some way to make your life better, as can your driveway and garden. The sky is the limit! Many people think that disabled people cannot live in a house with stairs, but stairlifts and other amendments mean that you can do as you please. There are no limits to what can be done when adapting a home for disability – just changes that will break through any initial barriers that you may see. The important thing to do is to seek professional advice and to ensure that the professionals who perform the work are properly specialized in disability adaptations, as the work needs to be of the highest quality. Any faults in your adaptations will have a great effect on your quality of life, so you really do get what you pay for.
The most common kinds of adjustments to be made are for people who have limited mobility or who are paralyzed and require a wheelchair to get around. Start with your driveway, which should have ramps added and be widened to accommodate your adapted vehicle, complete with disabled parking permit. There should be a ramp to your front door if there were steps in situ, and the key hole and door handle should be at a lower level so that they can be easily reached by someone in a wheelchair.
As you get into your house, you can have light switches, internal door handles, and other functional items moved lower so that they’re easily accessible. As previously described, if you don’t live in a single-level house, you can have an electric stairlift installed so that you can be brought upstairs with ease. There should also be a rack on the stairlift for your wheelchair and bars at each end of your stairs, so that you can maneuver yourself into your wheelchair.
Bathrooms have the most adjustments available to them when adapting a home for disability. Lower toilets with bars installed can help people with limited mobility access toilet functions. Special showers with seating and grips can be installed so that you can clean yourself without fear of falling. The key is to install features that encourage independence so that you do not feel needlessly burdensome.
There are also adaptations that can be installed for other disabilities. Sensory adjustments can be made for blind or deaf people, including visual or audio cues, depending on the needs of the person who lives in the house. This is why getting the advice of an occupational therapist can be so useful. They will tell you about adaptations you didn’t think possible for disabilities you would not assume are catered for.
The biggest stumbling block that can exist when adapting a home for disability is usually cost. While home adaptations can change the life of someone with a disability, they are often very expensive. They should be carried out by specialists, and this level of expertise often costs money. The good news is that there are bursaries and grants dedicated to this kind of thing. Both governments and charities provide support to disabled people to adapt their home to improve their lives. These grants vary depending on where you live but you can ask your doctor for advice on the best places to go to seek a bursary.
The best thing about adapting a home for disability is that you will reclaim your freedom and independence. All too often, disabled people are infantilized or made to feel as if they are a burden on society or on their loved ones, but once they are able to adapt their homes to make them more suitable to their needs, they are usually able to live lives as active and independent as any of their able-bodied friends. In adapting your home to your needs, your life will change – and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.