With an aging baby boomer generation, home contractors, designers, and experts are seeking ways to build and modify homes to meet this older generation’s needs. However, some people need these modifications before retirement age.
There are 40 million Americans currently living with a disability who require home adjustments for greater functionality and mobility. If you or someone you love is a living with a disability, here are three tips to keep in mind to make your home live up to your needs.
- Anticipate your needs. If you’ve grown up with a disability, you’re probably an expert when it comes to your needs, but not everyone with a disability will know what modifications might suit his or her own limitations. For example, a child with a birth injury like Cerebral palsy may not even show physical symptoms until they are older. Before you make any design decisions, talk to your support community. Reach out to other families who have renovated their home to accommodate a disability. Talk to your doctor or an occupational therapist about the home solutions they have seen and would recommend. You might also consider hiring a contract with experience in these necessary home modifications.
- Use technology to your advantage. Smart home technology has seen a large boom in recent years. It’s becoming more common to see homes with smart thermostats, home devices like Amazon’s echo, or home security systems that offer peace of mind. What we don’t often hear of are the amazing benefits that smart home technology can offer to people living with physical limitations. There is less of a need to lower light switches to wheelchair level if you can turn on all the lights in your home from an app on your tablet. If you have diabetes or seizures, a wearable monitoring device can assist you in the event of emergency, sending help to you when you’re home alone. Technology is opening up opportunities for people with all sorts of disabilities to live independently, and for many, improving their overall quality of life.
- Prioritize your budget. Almost no home renovation project is inexpensive, and modifying a home to accommodate a disability is no exception. On average, a person with a disability could spend anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000 on home improvements, and that’s just the moderate range. From appliances designed for disabilities in mind to a home elevator, it’s easy to spend much more to make a home fit your needs and limitations. Make a list of the things you need and the things you want with estimated prices. By comparing your options to the budget that you’ve set for the project, you can start to list the key renovations that you want to focus on first and foremost. While you might not get everything you want in the first renovation, your home will at least be functional. You can then start to plan and save for those bigger home wishes down the road.
Regardless of the challenges that life has given you, your home should be a place of comfort, safety, and freedom. It should not be burdensome, but rather a place suited to fit your needs. With a little bit of research and planning, a person with a disability can find home solutions for an inclusive space for the whole family!