Accessible University states that when planning modifications for your home to make it more accessible it is important to ensure all accessibility solutions have been considered including your particular situation. It is advised to assess your needs and home before planning modifications.
Consider Your Situation
“When it comes to creating an accessible home, it’s important to remember that each person and family are different, and each home is different.”
The type of disability one has and the specific mobility aids used will determine what adaptations to pursue in the home. Accessible University gives the following questions to consider when planning your accessibility needs.
- Is your condition stable or progressive? “Planning for future needs from the outset can result in better outcomes, lower cost and the potential for you to remain in place.”
- What adaptations can be done now and which ones can be done in the future? Balancing adaptations with other things going on will determine what happens now and what you will work on in the future.
- Which adaptations need to be permanent and which ones could be temporary? Consider how long you plan to stay in the place you are now. How will the adaptations affect the resale value? Which adaptations require permanent changes versus temporary ones?
Assess Your Needs
“An occupational therapist is best positioned to help you assess your needs in your home, the activities you do within it, the design of it and how you might modify it,” says Accessible University. It’s important that you feel comfortable during the assessment. Feel free to have someone there (ex. family member, significant other) that you have a connection with.
“Throughout this assessment process, remember that you are the most knowledgeable about your own needs and the ways you use a space.”
Here are a few considerations when assessing your needs:
- What parts of your home do use more frequently? What parts do you use less frequently?
- What activities do you do in your home? Of course, account for your independent living tasks, but think about the fun stuff (hobbies) you like to do!
- What mobility aids do you use and how much space do they need to function? Remember to consider turning circles and take accurate measurements of your equipment. Make sure to measure your reachability from your chair.
- Keep your transfers in mind. How will you transfer? Will you be using any special equipment?
Assess Your Home
Accessible University states to broadly consider the following when assessing your home:
- What are all the spaces in your home that could be used to fit a specific need? (ex. one or entryway)
- Is moving more of an appropriate option rather than making modifications?
After assessing your needs and features of your home the next step is to plan the logistics of the modifications. Accessible University reminds readers to evaluate which modifications use equipment and begin the process of obtaining said equipment. Evaluate which modifications involve other changes that do not involve construction, like moving furniture. Consult additional home modification resources and arrange funding if needed.
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