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Disabled people often need to have special adaptations made to their homes so that they can live independently. If you have recently become disabled or your circumstances have changed, you might need to think about adapting your home for disability so that it works for you.
This can feel like a daunting prospect if it seems like there’s a lot to do. You might need to do a variety of things, from simple changes such as installing grab bars to slightly more complicated alterations such as widening doorways. When you need to change your home, there might be several steps that you need to take to make it happen.
Adapting Your Home for Disability:
Speak to Others to Gain Their Expertise
The first thing that can be helpful is to speak to other people to hear their experiences and opinions. Other disabled people and organizations advocating for disabled people can often provide very useful advice about adapting your home. They can share what they know, which adaptations are most useful for them, and the process that they took to make the changes that they need. Connect with people online and in real life and get in touch with people such as charities, occupational therapists, and anyone else who might have the knowledge and experience.
Go Through Your Home
Doing a walkthrough of your home is a good way to spot any of the potential changes that you might need to make. Are there any issues with getting in and out of your home? Are there obstacles that prevent you from moving around freely? Which features of your home are difficult or impossible for you to use? You can make sure you have a clear idea of what you need to change by going through your home room by room and getting a visual and tactile idea of the adaptations that you need to make.
When you’re walking through your home, think about your lifestyle and your daily routine. Some of the things that you might want to think about include:
- Getting up in the morning and getting ready for the day
- Washing, bathing, and using the toilet
- Cooking and eating
- Getting in and out of your home
- Getting up and down the stairs or any steps
- General moving around your home
- Safety in your home, including kitchen safety, fire safety, and bathrooms
- Answering the door (both safety and knowing when someone is at the door)
- Going to bed at night
- Getting out into the backyard or garden
- Being able to contact other people
Make a List of Necessary Adaptations
Once you’ve got some advice and inspected your home, you can make a list of the adaptations that you want and need to make. Some changes might be structural, some could require the use of technology, and others could put in new furniture or other items. The adaptations that you make will depend on your needs. If you have issues with mobility, you might need to install ramps or put in a walk-in bathtub. People who are blind may need to consider the layout of their home and ensure they have audible alerts for various things, whereas people who are deaf or hard of hearing might need visual alternatives to things such as doorbells and fire alarms.
Get Financial Help for Changes
Adapting your home for disability takes resources, so you need to think about the cost of the changes that you want to make. It’s often expensive to put adaptations into your home, although it will depend on what changes you want to make. You might secure a grant or a loan that helps you to pay for the changes to your home. You should check government resources and charities or nonprofits that might help you out.
If you have recently become disabled because of an accident, you could also find that reaching out to some car accident lawyers is a smart choice. If someone else’s negligence caused you to become disabled, they may be required to cover some of the resulting costs. This can help you pay not just for adaptations to your home but also medical costs and perhaps even loss of earnings.
Learn to Use Your Adaptations
After installing the adaptations in your home, it might be necessary to learn to use some of them safely and effectively. Many things will be pretty self-explanatory but it could take a little while to get used to using them. Other changes could require a bit of a learning curve, especially if you have installed any technology that you have to learn to use.
Sometimes it might be useful to work with a physical therapist or occupational therapist to adapt to getting around your new home. They can ensure you’re navigating around your home safely and benefiting from the changes you’ve made.
Consider Tools That Can Help You Further
As well as the changes that you make to your home, think about other tools that might help you live more independently at home. You might have thought about some of the more significant changes to make, but there are also smaller things that can make things easier for you. It could be anything from a tool to help you grab things or a tray so that you can have your meal on your lap to something that helps you to put on your socks in the morning.
Start Thinking Outside of the Home
Aside from adapting your home for disability, it can also be helpful to think about what adaptations you might need outside of your home to help you live your fullest life. This could include having the right transport to get around, getting necessary support and adjustments at work, and any adjustments that might help you to have a social life, go on vacation, and more. These things are worth thinking about after adapting your home to ensure you can truly be as independent as possible.
When you need to adapt your home, it can take a while to get everything organized. But once you’ve put everything into place, your home will help you live in how you want.