Moving Tips for People With Disabilities
Patrick Young Ableusa.info
More than 40 million Americans were living with a disability in 2016, representing 12.8 percent of the nation’s civilian non-institutionalized population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The agency’s statistics also show disabilities are much more prevalent among older Americans, with a reported 25.3 percent of the population between ages 65 and 74 dealing with a disability and 49.5 percent of people ages 75 and over classified as disabled. So it’s no surprise an increasing number of services exist to help people with disabilities find or adapt homes to suit their needs.
Redfin offers some renovation advice for people with disabilities on its blog and gives potential home buyers the ability to filter search results to include only single-story homes or homes that have other accessibility features. If you or someone else in your household is dealing with a disability, such features may include:
- At least one step-free entrance to the home.
- Cabinets and shelves within easy reach.
- At least one kitchen work surface that can be used while seated.
- Hallways and doorways that are wide enough to accommodate mobility aids.
- A shower without a step-over barrier.
- Flooring that fits your family’s mobility needs.
- A bedroom, full bathroom, and kitchen on the ground floor if climbing stairs is a challenge.
Finally, it’s important to note the Fair Housing Act protects people who are renting, buying, or financing a house from discrimination. The Fair Housing Act specifically covers discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability. and the presence of children.
Preparing for the Move
If you purchase a property that will need renovations to accommodate its occupants safely and comfortably, be sure your home-buying budget accounts for those costs. Similarly, you might want to budget for hiring help with packing, unpacking, and moving day.
There are also organizations that can provide advice and financial assistance to help cover moving costs for people with disabilities, so start the research process early to explore all your options. State and federal agencies that provide services for people with disabilities can also help you start the fact-finding process and eventually find moving professionals who can meet your unique needs.
Changing Your Address
Once your moving day is set, start by changing your address with the U.S. Postal Service. Changing your address online is the fastest and most convenient method, and you receive an online confirmation as soon as you make the change. You can also go to your local post office and request a Movers Guide, which includes a Change-of-Address Order and Catalog Address Change & Request Card.
You may also want to get in touch with other government agencies, such as the IRS, and companies including your credit card providers to give them your new address. Even if you are enrolled in paperless billing programs with all your creditors, it always makes sense to have your current address on file in case problems occur. And contact your current utility providers to let them know when you are leaving, and look into which utilities you will need to arrange at your new address.
Home Sweet Home
Once you’ve made the move, there are some simple things you can do to help make your new home comfortable for all occupants. For example, secure area rugs to the floor or make sure they are lined with non-slip grips. Arrange your furniture with an eye toward minimizing fall risks. And equip your bathrooms with grab bars, a non-slip bath mat, and a non-slip mat or pads for the shower floor. While you can probably do many of these tasks on your own, consider consulting a contractor to install grab bars to make sure they are secure.
Finding a new place to live and moving in can seem like a monumental task. But beginning the planning and preparation process early and taking any special needs into account from the start can go a long way toward making the process manageable.