Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.

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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?

General Resources:

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

Funding Resources:

Medicaid: Home & Community Based Services

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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