Preparing a house for a disabled or aging loved one may seem complicated, but it’s much easier when you break it down into simple tasks. You’ll have to be up-to-date with ADA requirements, create better entrances, understand what type of in-home care your family member needs, and more. Let’s discover everything you should know about a home repair and accessibility program in 2023!
1. Read Up on the ADA Requirements
A good contractor has to be informed of all new requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and what would make their home and quality of life much better. However, everyone needs to know about these regulations to ensure the safety and the rights of their loved ones. Aside from finding the most beneficial type of adult assisted living for each individual, it’s vital for personal properties to be accessible.
By looking at some of the standards required of public buildings, you can create better living conditions for your family member, including increasing their sense of independence and decreasing the chances of injuries. According to ADA guidelines, their home needs wider hallways, doorways, and entry ramps. Doorways should be 36 inches wide and always swing outward so a wheelchair or walker can easily fit without too much arrangement.
Thresholds shouldn’t cause any tripping hazard, and open areas need enough space for a wheelchair to make a complete turn, which would be an estimated five feet. Knobs are typically exchanged for lever handles because pushing down is much easier than twisting. Light switches are lowered so a person in a wheelchair can reach them. The floor should have anti-slip features, and there should be grab bars in vital areas near the shower and toilet, possibly next to the bed. Let’s keep learning about this home repair and accessibility program.
2. Get Home Energy Sorted Out
A person with a disability needs to have a fully functional electric setup at home. They may have eyesight problems, which means they’ll need to be able to turn on lights everywhere. However, many old family members also require electric machines to help them with sleep or for treatments. It’s also a good idea to install some kind of energy backup if there’s an essential medical gadget because you never know when the power will go out.
You’ll need to call an electrical company. First, they should conduct some kind of inspection at your older relative’s house. As per ADA rules, the company should help you lower the light switches for better accessibility. However, they could also install an energy backup system to turn on automatically when the power goes out. Driving during a power outage is usually not advisable, so getting an automatic system is much better than worrying about it later. Part of setting up a good home repair and accessibility program is planning for the unexpected.
Consider changing suppliers if the electrical company doesn’t have the options your loved one needs. You should also pay attention to the things around electrical outlets and light switches. It’s important not to place anything that may obstruct a wheelchair or walker from getting near. Meanwhile, some people have turned to smart solutions to improve the quality of life of their relatives. For example, a feature where the lights can turn off by saying the command aloud is perfect.
3. Take Care of the Will for Children and Grandchildren
There’s a part of this home repair and accessibility program most people don’t consider, but handling a will as early as possible is much better. The process may become more complicated if the person is disabled or can’t make decisions for themselves. Therefore, you must help your relative plan everything so you don’t have to worry about money or other issues later. For example, many parents want their kids to inherit everything, although they also want to leave something behind for their grandchildren, like tuition for a private elementary school.
That can be easily accomplished with the help of an estate planning lawyer. You can also include other things, such as enough funds for funeral expenses and cremation pre planning. The idea is to get that out of the way quickly to avoid thinking about paperwork after the person passes. It’ll also give the person with a disability some peace of mind, and the rest of the relatives can be assured that nothing will be in question when the time comes. This person can choose several ways to leave money behind for their family, and that’s why getting an attorney is often better.
The main ways to pass down money include giving it as a gift immediately, designating an age for the person to receive the money, or placing the funds in a discretionary trust. The first option means the beneficiary will receive the money after the person’s death and when the paperwork goes through. It may take a while if the beneficiary is a minor. It’s often better to create a trust and release the funds when the beneficiary turns 21 or 25. A discretionary trust means the money is intended for a specific purpose, like education, a house, or a wedding.
4. Try to Get In-Home Care
While not all disabled people require in-home care, it’s something that all families must consider. No matter how great you set up the house and how independent the individual may be, anyone can benefit from being cared for occasionally. Choosing suitable in-home options is much better than rushing them to a primary care clinic in an emergency. Many get a nurse or a licensed professional to watch their loved ones during the day. Others choose to be the main caregiver, but that’s a big responsibility.
Another option for this home repair and accessibility program is hiring someone who doesn’t have any medical training. They could be considered a companion for the disabled or aging person. This benefits people who don’t want to burden their families and those who hate the idea of being watched over all the time. The friend will be there for entertainment and welfare. Whatever you decide, preparing your loved one for this situation is vital because they may not be open to them.
First, you should have a conversation with your relative. Don’t treat them like children because they won’t appreciate condescension. Be honest with your intentions and let them ask questions too. Let them choose some things because it is much better to include them in the process. Listen to their concerns after the caregiver is hired because they may not like someone, and the idea is to give them a better quality of life. Not all professionals or companions will work with each individual.
5. Invest in an Outdoor Space
Being out in nature has several health benefits that can’t be overstated. It would be amazing to create an accessible outdoor area for your loved ones as part of this home repair and accessibility program. First, consider the options that will benefit your relative best, like the hobbies they’ve always enjoyed, such as fishing. With the right contractors, you may be able to recreate a small pond in a yard that allows them to get a similar vibe, but that’s just one example.
You’ll have to think about adding sections for eating so your loved one can still host parties or entertain their guests if that’s what they desire. Their safety is also essential, and your location may require some things, such as a covered deck enclosure, to reduce the chances of mosquito bites. Some people get awnings or parasols to prevent their older relatives from being exposed to the sun for too long. You can ensure they have everything they need as long you consider their safety.
They need smooth, steady walkways to move around properly. Most people get concrete options because it’s cost-efficient, but that doesn’t mean making a gray walkway. You can choose different colors and patterns to match the rest of the house. Proper seating is also essential. A table with removable chairs is better because a wheelchair can adapt comfortably. You can find other options online or with appropriate research.
6. Keep the Air Clean
Watching out for a loved one’s health is essential in this home repair and accessibility program. You must consider the air inside the house, especially if they live near high-traffic areas or have smokers as neighbors. Hiring professionals to check for mildew, mold, and more is also a good idea. Asbestos inspection companies offer several deals, so an initial diagnosis shouldn’t break the bank.
Another vital aspect is their heating and air conditioning needs. You want your relative to be comfortable, and HVAC businesses should be able to adjust everything according to ADA standards. The controls should be at the right height, so the individual at home can adjust them as required. However, it should also be in optimal condition. Therefore, consider setting up a regular maintenance schedule with your trusted technicians to ensure that the ducts aren’t obstructed or dispersing dust all over the house.
The technician should change the AC filter during their visit to ensure the temperature and air remain pristine. It’s also wise to consider the other filters in the house, which are in the vacuum, dryer, and kitchen vents. They can also affect an older relative’s health. The individual or the in-home care professional should use cooking vents regularly because gas stoves release carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide into the house. Pet fur can also be harmful, so carpets and furniture need to be cleaned regularly. Indoor plants are also helpful; try to get a dehumidifier, too.
7. Have Multiple Entrances
One of the main concerns for disabled people is how they’ll move around at home. This home repair and accessibility program is meant to ensure their independence. Therefore, aside from creating large and ADA-standard doors, adding more entrances to their home would be great. Think about what would happen if they had to use a walker or a wheelchair to get out of the house during an emergency.
Smart technology has been life-changing for disabled people. These can have an electronic lock where they’ll only need to use their finger to get in and lock it. You can also create an emergency exit in a person’s room if it’s on the ground floor. That way, they won’t need to go through the entire house to reach the regular entryway. It’s also wise to invest in repairs, including garage door maintenance.
Many disabled people can still drive, meaning they need to have accessible garage doors with controls that work. Furthermore, they need to exit the garage quickly and reach their homes. Some houses have garages that lead right into the insides, but others have detached ones. There should be ramps and wider doors to accommodate whatever they require. All entrances need to be equipped with ramps if necessary. They aren’t expensive to build and are life savers because your older loved one shouldn’t have to wait for assistance just to leave the house.
8. Sort Out Their Possessions
During this home repair and accessibility program, you’ll ensure your loved one can easily walk around the house, meaning some of their furniture and possessions must go. Any couches or dressers that get in the way or pose a threat to someone in a wheelchair, walker, or with low mobility need to be cleared. On the other hand, if your relative is moving to a better home, already designed for disabilities, you’ll need the help of residential moving companies to move their useful furniture and take the rest wherever you choose.
Moving companies are also great at helping restructure a person’s current things so they don’t have to give it all up. For example, lower cabinets and tables can be repurposed in other rooms to help the individual. They can become the new kitchen storage, so they’ll always be able to reach their utensils while they cook. It takes a bit of creativity and experience to ensure the quality of life of an aging loved one. Changing the furniture layout and nailing any potential hazards to walls and floors is the perfect solution.
Now that you understand the steps to start the best home repair and accessibility program in 2023, it’s time to implement it. Remember that your loved one deserves to live in a safe space, but doing this is not just for their sake. It’s also for yours, so you won’t have to worry about the foreseeable future. Call contractors and begin today!