Am Fam Physician. 2009;80(9):970
See related article on home adaptations.
Can I live at home if I have a disability?
You may be able to keep living at home if you have a disability. However, you may need to make some changes to your home so that it is easier for you to get around safely. These changes can also make it easier for your caregiver to help you.
What changes will I need?
It depends on your disability. If you have trouble seeing, it may help to have special lights or different colors in certain rooms. If you have trouble hearing, vibrating sensors can let you know when the doorbell rings or the smoke alarm goes off. Ramps and railings may make it easier for you to walk around. Your doctor can help you choose what adaptations you need and refer you to specialists in home modifications. It is also helpful to talk about any changes with caregivers and family members.
How do I pay for them?
Making changes to your home can be expensive but may cost less than moving to a different living situation. There are many options for paying for these changes. Some government agencies give out loans or grants. If your disability is from an accident, you may be able to use money from your insurance or worker's compensation.
Where can I get more information?
AARP Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Practical Guide to Universal Design
Web site: http://www.uiowa.edu/infotech/universalhomedesign.pdf
U.S. Rehab: Certified Environmental Access Consultants
Web site: http://www.usrehab.com/ceac
Medicaid: Home & Community Based Services
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Web site: http://www.n4a.org/
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Web site: http://www.homeloans.va.gov/sah.htm