Buying a new home can be an overwhelming experience most especially if you or your loved ones need a special kind. It can be daunting as there are additional aspects that you must look for. Possibly helping a client look for a house that will make it easier to perform your caregiver duties and responsibilities. Regardless to for whom the house would be, if you’re not prepared and you do not know what to look for, the process will be miserable and you will overlook certain aspects that will greatly constrain the way of life for the person needing daily assistance. You should take time to research in order to avoid the future bumps in the road and you will purchase/rent the most handicap-friendly home.
Here are some things to consider:
Single level home
The most important issue is space for anyone with mobility issues. A house with narrow hallways, tight turns and complicated labyrinths of rooms isn’t going to be helpful for independence and easy maneuverability for anyone who uses a wheelchair or any other mobility device. A flat, one-story house is often the only option for mobility device users, but be careful with houses with sunken rooms and random steps, which will instantly make certain rooms off-limits or challenging to get to.
Nowadays, there are lots of newly built homes, open floor plans and houses with more space. It gives homeowners more flexibility with decorating and making the house their own. But when a wheelchair is involved, it adds yet another level of convenience, allowing you to organize large items of furniture where you want, leaving room for open walkways and maneuvering space. Create doorways, hallways and corner that are all wide enough for a wheelchair or any other equipment. Compliant to the Fair Housing Act, doors must have a 32-inch passable opening, but many people, if able or willing to renovate to their preference, prefer it wider, closer to 36 inches, if possible.
Kitchen design is one of the most varied areas of home design, but following trends won’t make a kitchen accessible or even operable for anyone who uses a wheelchair. Be ready to do a few simple fixes if the house you decide on isn’t optimized for you. Side-by-side refrigerators are more user-friendly than setups with the freezer on the bottom or on the top, simply because of what’s in reach. Ovens, often placed high on the wall, are not only awkward and unsuitable for use, but can be dangerous. The folding-down door is hot and will get in the way, and lifting items that are both heavy and dangerously hot don’t make for a good cooking combination. Look for double, stacked ovens, and lower-level microwaves, or at least scope out cabinetry that can possible be moved.
In case there would be a problem affording a home, there are numerous programs set up to help. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a home ownership voucher program, Social Security has a Supplemental Security Income program, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has housing grants for disabled veterans.
And if there’s any question, remember the Fair Housing Act, which says that when selling or renting houses to anyone, the renter or seller may not question race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap of the person looking to rent or buy housing.
Remember that it may take some creativity to find the perfect house, or to customize one you find, it needs a lot of patience, but it’s possible. You should create a checklist of the things most important to you, just make sure to know what’s non-negotiable and what you can live without. If you can’t get everything, make sure you can at least get the things most important.
Source: realtytimes.com, hud.gov, benefits.va.gov, ssa.gov
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