Disability, chronic illness, fatigue & pain can all make home life more challenging. Where independence is possible, there are small changes and additions that can be considered to maximise independence and make managing the day-to-day a little easier. This collaborative post takes a look at just a handful of possible tools and home adaptations.
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Independence At Home With Disability
Finding ways to make it easier for disabled people to maintain their independence is so important and investing in the right equipment and home adaptations is one of the best ways to do that. There are a lot of people out there that would be more capable of living independently, but their home is not set up in the most practical way and they don’t have the necessary equipment. As a result, they may struggle with daily activities or have to rely more on others for help with certain tasks. While this obviously isn’t possible for everyone, the good news is that some simple changes can still help many people living with disabilities to regain or retain their independence.
These are some of the best home adaptations, tools and equipment if you or a loved one are living with a disability.
Ramps are one of the most basic home adaptations that wheelchair users often need. Wider doors and wheelchair accessibility is something that you should look out for if you are house hunting with a disability, but if you can’t find a home that meets your accessibility needs adequately or want to stay in your current property, installing permanent or temporary ramps could make a considerable difference. Without them, a person that needs a wheelchair might be unable to leave the house without assistance from somebody else, which makes it impossible for them to live an independent lifestyle.
For people that use wheelchairs, traveling long distances can be difficult but navigating smaller areas at home could likewise be troublesome, so you might be more reliant on someone else being there to push the chair or get you around fiddly tight spaces. However, powered wheelchairs can help to overcome these issues somewhat, reducing the physical effort required so that short or long distances are more doable, while hopefully also making getting around the home less frustrating. The lower impact on the arms also makes them better suited to people with mobility issues in the upper body.
Getting up and down the stairs unaided can make easier for disabled individuals to move around their home and carry out daily tasks. In some cases, you may wish to consider moving into a single-floor property, but installing a stairlift is also a great option. As long as somebody is able to move from their wheelchair into the stairlift on their own, they can move more freely around the home without relying on somebody else.
Lowered Kitchen Tops
The kitchens in standard homes are not typically built with wheelchair users in mind and they are too high for most to comfortably use. This means that wheelchair users often have to rely on somebody else to help them with food preparation or risk accidents when reaching up, which has a big impact on their independence. However, this problem can be solved by lowering the kitchen countertops so they are at the ideal height for use by somebody in a wheelchair. It’s a bigger and more costly home adaptation to take on, but it could make a considerable difference and it’s always worth checking whether you’re eligible for any financial assistance for such accessibility changes. Being able to prepare your own food is something that most people take for granted. However, for somebody that uses a wheelchair, it can be big challenge that might be made easier with some home modifications.
While Insta-perfect organisation may be unrealistic, small changes can help to refresh your home and make things more practical. There are lots of products on the market these days to help maximise your space and get organised, from simple boxes and plastic drawer towers, to wall storage and shelf extenders for cupboards.
Keeping your home organised, tidy and clutter-free can help us feel calmer mentally, but it can also help in practical terms. There should be a little less frustration and less to do when everything has a place, and the items most often used should be easy to get to. There should be less safety issues with things where you can easily reach them. Floorspace will be maximised to get around easily, especially if you use a walker or wheelchair. Furthermore, less clutter and no trip hazards such as loose cables will be that much safer for those with visual impairments.
Grab Rails & Shower Chairs
Grab rails the bathrooms and around the bath so you can get in/out can help those with disabilities and conditions like arthritis that makes manoeuvring in such ways difficult. Having rails won’t just make things more manageable, they’ll make bathroom trips safer. This is also a good idea for the elderly or anyone that’s vulnerable, prone to slips and trips, or finds themselves feeling unsteady. A small slip or bump might not be noticed by some, while it could mean a large bruise, broken bone or worse for others. Adding a little extra security can be small but beneficial, without having to make major changes to your home.
When it comes to showers, a simple shower seat can make the experience more doable and enjoyable, especially if you can’t stand for long, have POTS, suffer with fatigue, and so on. Non-slip mats in the shower and/or bath are also worth considering.
Go Light & Cordless With Housekeeping
Housekeeping can be exhausting and impractical, especially if you’re lugging around large buckets of water for mopping floors or heavy, clunky vacuum cleaners up the stairs. It means some people are more reliant on others to help with certain parts of cleaning the home, but more ergonomic tools may help in regaining a bit of independence here. It might be worth considering investing in alternatives to the traditional mop & bucket, like those with a spray included on the handle, doing away with needing a bucket. Cordless vacuum cleaners that are lightweight are also much easier to move around your home, reducing the risk of accidents on stairs.
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When you live with a disability, or any chronic condition for that matter, there are a lot of daily tasks that you may find difficult. Both minor and major home modifications for accessibility are available for safer & more manageable day to day living. It’s not feasible for everyone, but many people might be able to enhance their independence with adaptations and tools like those listed here by making day-to-day life that bit easier to manage.
These are more for physical, bodily conditions, though of course there are other tools and pieces of equipment for those with visual and auditory conditions. There are, of course, lots of other tools and products for those with auditory or visual conditions that are worth considering, from smart speaker assistants and talking microwaves (as one reader has helpfully commented below), to tactile markers and labels.
Do you use any tools or adaptions to make home life more manageable?
[ This is a collaborative post ]