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Home Modifications For The Disabled

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Most homes are designed with the needs of the average able-bodied person in mind. When a disability strikes, what used to be a safe and comfortable living environment can become dangerous and difficult if not impossible to negotiate. Home modifications for the disabled are designed to make the home safe, accessible and comfortable again.

Types of Home Modifications for the Disabled

Disabilities come in many forms and home modifications for disabled persons must be designed with their specific disabilities uppermost in mind. If a person is wheelchair-bound, for example, a number of modifications may be needed, including:

A wheelchair ramp outside the house.

Wiider doors for wheelchair access.

Lower kitchen benchtops to allow the person in the wheelchair to work in the kitchen.

A specially designed stepless shower enclosure with a wider entry.

A bathroom designed to give access to the toilet. It might include a specially designed toilet, grab rails and an area for the wheelchair.

Other disabilities may require different modifications, but all will have some things in common. They will allow the person to:

Get into and out of their home;

Go to the toilet;

Bathe;

Prepare meals;

Change clothes;

Get into and out of bed; and

Live comfortably in their home.

Depending on a person's disability, they may need modifications to allow them to live independently or to enhance assisted living with a caregiver.

Who Should Carry Out Home Modifications for the Disabled?

Some modifications for the disabled can be surprisingly complex. For example, Australian standards for installing grab rails exist, but they are for public areas and may not be applicable for a specific person or setting. The height of the grab rail and even its diameter can make the difference between a safe and effective aid and one that is unsafe and ineffective.

Your state and local housing or building authority will be able to recommend services that can help you determine what modifications are needed. An occupational therapist may be able to give you further assistance and work with your builder , kitchen or bathroom renovator to make sure they use the right products in the best way to maximize comfort and safety.

Some home modifications for the disabled may require council approval. If the disabled person lives in a strata unit, they will probably need to get permission from the body corporate. Before undertaking any building or renovation work, always check with the relevant authorities first. And take extra care when hiring trades to carry out the work. Aside from making sure they are licensed and insured, choose tradies with experience working for the needs of the disabled.

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