There are more than 40 million people in the U.S. living with disabilities.
If your family member has recently become disabled, it’s time to start thinking about handicap home modifications. These modifications help make your space safer. They make it easier to navigate a wheelchair, walker, or other mobility devices.
These modifications can also help to improve your family member’s quality of life by giving them more freedom in their own home.
Keep reading to learn about a few major projects you might be taking on, as well as how you can finance them.
Consider Your Options
Home remodeling for disabled residents can be very expensive.
For instance, renovating only a single bathroom in a home to make sure that it is handicap accessible will cost around $20,000. If your bathroom is small and needs major renovations in to make it accessible, it could cost even more.
From adding ramps and chairlifts to widening doorways, the costs add up fast. A total home renovation could top a hundred thousand dollars, depending on the size and age of your home.
You may not be able to make every renovation you would like. Instead, consider ways you can make your home easier to navigate in other ways.
A smaller wheelchair for use only in your home can help you avoid the need to widen your doorways. Depending on the layout of your home, you may be able to move your family member’s living quarters to the bottom level to avoid the need to use the stairs.
In-home assistance for disabled people can also help them make the transition to navigating their world from a wheelchair.
Financing Your Home Modifications
Once you’ve decided which home modifications to make, it’s time to look into financing.
If you rent, your landlord will be responsible for some renovations under the Fair Housing Act.
If you own your home, you’ll need to make the renovations yourself. There are many grants available that can help.
Veterans may be eligible for grants to assist in making your home more accessible. Other nonprofits also provide help to disabled people through grants and donations. These include The American RedCross, Americorps, and more.
If your family member is disabled because of a car accident or other incident, a personal injury lawyer might be able to help. They can help you get a settlement that can help pay for modifications to your home as well.
Make Sure Your Home is Safe
There are some grants for handicap remodeling available. But if you don’t have the funds to cover the rest of your expenses or you aren’t eligible for a grant, you need to consider your options.
If you can’t make all of the renovations to your home to make it completely handicap accessible right away, that’s okay. Instead, you should focus on making the modifications that will make your space safe.
Patch holes in the concrete of your driveway to make sure that it’s safe for a wheelchair to cross. Install wheelchair ramps at all entrances to make it easy to get in and out of your home without trying to navigate a wheelchair downstairs.
Inside, if it is necessary for your disabled family member to go up and down stairs, install a chair lift to make sure that they are able to do safely. Add grab bars in your showers and baths. Provide a safe way for your family member to get on and off of all the toilets in your home as well.
Lower light switches or easy-to-reach cabinets will improve your family member’s quality of life. But making sure that they are safe in your home should be your first priority.
Don’t Neglect the Details
When many people think about making accessibility home modifications, they think about ramps, wider doorways, or chair lifts. But while these common modifications are important, there are plenty of other, less obvious details to consider as well.
Take for instance if your family member experiences medical emergencies. If these require an ambulance or other medical professional to come to your home, you need to make sure that your house number is visible from the street.
The last thing you want is an ambulance driving past your house when you need them.
If your property doesn’t have a driveway or a space that is always open that an ambulance could park in, it’s a good idea to contact your city officials to see if it is possible to have a space in front of your home designated as a handicap space.
Inside your home, there are a few other modifications that will help make life easier and safer for your disabled family member.
Making sure that light switches and thermostats are within reach for someone in a wheelchair is one modification you can make. Replacing doors that swing open wide for pocket doors can make it easier to get from one room the next.
Another important detail that you might overlook is the actual flooring in your home. Even if there is plenty of space for a wheelchair to get through, if you have carpet or old wood floors that are uneven, it can be tough to navigate on wheels.
Upgrading to a more durable vinyl or laminate will not only make your floors smoother but will also keep you from having to replace them each year due to wear and tear.
Making Home Modifications for Disabled Family Members
Making home modifications for disabled family members is necessary for keeping them safe. It can also help give them more freedom to move about and care for themselves in their own home.
Another great way to give your family member more independence is to help them find a job that they love.
Check out this list of 7 easy jobs for disabled individuals. Any one of them can help give them back some of the freedom they may have lost following their injury.