How to choose a family home for a disability
The process of finding a new home.
Close to support services
Proximity to health providers and therapists
While it may seem like a car ride is no big deal, any home that’s far out of town can start to feel like a real drag if your loved one has frequent visits with their doctor or other therapists. With long-term rehabilitation or mobility improvement programmes, you may need to be attending appointments multiple times each week.
This also works the other way, with OTs and in-home carers being close by offering a much more responsive service than if you’re based remotely. If you have the option of being close to health services, go for it!
Make sure of easy access
Driveway that offers ease of access to the home
What may seem like a fairly minor detail often proves one of the biggest headaches to families who have one or more members with a mobility impairment. Access to the home via the driveway should allow two things:
The ability to access the front door or a practical entrance into the home without any stairs.
When these two things are taken care of, exiting the home and loading the vehicle becomes a less stressful series of movements. When it’s raining, your loved one will not be stuck out in the rain negotiating a stair chair lift or getting across to a car parked further away. And getting home from being out is made so much easier when you can drive right up to the house, unload and get inside without any steps in the process.
As you look around for homes, take care to assess the driveway and front door entrance, but also the style of pathways to the entrances around the home. A cobblestone or brick pathway could make things tricky to maneuver around in a walking frame, wheelchair or other assistive technology.
Better than a driveway that comes right up to the front door is a garage with internal access – this ensures everyone stays dry, and there won’t be the rush to get out of the rain quickly!
Why a single-storey home is a big advantage
While there’s most certainly positives behind having a multi storey house and plenty of attractive styles of architecture that make use of multiple levels, it’s really not the best option for a family with someone who needs mobility support.
A single storey home is the best choice for someone with mobility challenges:
- Getting into and out of the home is much quicker.
- You can have multiple exits all around the home making it safer in a fire.
- Family members will have a much easier time carrying a disabled person out of a single storey home than down or up stairs.
- Accessing the bathroom is far more straightforward (especially with a good bathroom mobility system).
Flat outside areas of the property
To ensure everyone’s able to enjoy the entire property’s outdoor areas, look for a home set on a flat piece of land, without an incline or outdoor steps.
Much like getting up and down stairs, a flat outside property allows all of the family to get outside and enjoy the fresh air without a long drawn-out process.
Room configuration allows your disabled family member to be close to the bathroom
Floor plans of homes vary so wildly that it’s important to check how bedrooms are configured in relation to the bathroom. A mobility impaired family member will need to access the bathroom quickly and easily.
- Does the room closest to the bathroom have the floor space to fit a bed, assistive equipment and all other bedroom furniture comfortably, with ample open floor space to conduct transfers onto a wheelchair or bathroom chair?
- Does the doorway of the bedroom and bathroom adequately fit all assistive equipment you may need, particularly the wheelchair and shower chair?
- Is the bedroom close to the bathroom and an easy exit in case of emergencies?
Having some of these questions in your checklist can even help real estate agents/realtors put together a more appropriate short list for you to view.
Bathroom with enough floor space to allow freedom of movement
Now, this one is ‘great to have’, but before you rule out the home entirely, remember that a system like Showerbuddy will accommodate most bathrooms across the world.
If the house is otherwise perfect, but the bathroom feels a bit on the small side, we’ve got another suggestion. Look into the Showerbuddy range of transfer chairs and see if our transfer options would fit in the bathroom using our purpose built app or web tool called BathCheck. With some measurements of the space (bring a tape measure with you to the house viewing!), you can enter this into our tool and know if our complete transfer systems, for either bathtub or shower units will work in the home’s bathroom. Showerbuddy transfer systems completely remove the need for any in-bathroom transfers and no lifting whatsoever while bathing or toileting. But you can read more about that in our page about the Transfer range.
Perfect home but no disabled-friendly bathroom?
Showerbuddy is a range of solutions that helps to transform most bathrooms into mobility-friendly options. Remodelling a bathroom in a new home is no longer required with Showerbuddy. Head over to our products section to see the range to accommodate both bathtubs and shower units.
More information about this topic:
You can find useful information about this topic across the web via the following excellent online resources:
- Home ownership guide for disabled people – Office For Disability Issues – odt.govt.nz
- Home Ownership for People with Long-Term Disabilities (HOLD) – ownyourhome.gov.uk
- Housing Help – USA.gov
- Accessible and Universal Home—Thinking Beyond the Wheelchair – Abilities.com
Learn more about Showerbuddy’s range for bathrooms
Showerbuddy provides solutions for mobility-impaired bathroom users. Head over to our products range page to explore our purpose-built shower chairs.
Guide to parenting disabled adults
For some, raising a child with a disability is but the first phase of a lifelong dedication to supporting their loved one. For others, a disabled child turning 18 is largely a milestone of independence like any other teenager entering adulthood, with little to no requirement for parental support.
Tips for new parents of disabled children
If you’ve only just had a child who was born with a disability that will affect mobility, or have a child that may have developed a mobility impairment from a health situation or injury, these moments can feel like a lot to process.
Supporting a teenager in a wheelchair
Teenage life isn’t easy … anyone over the age of 18 can attest to the fact that your high school years present plenty of uncomfortable or new obstacles. It’s a period where we’re transitioning from child into adult and all the things this comes with from puberty to evolving complex social dynamics.