The issues and obstacles that come into play when someone if faced with mobility problems can be daunting. The good news is that there are experts and practitioners who walk disabled people through these difficulties – everyday.
There are a number of questions and issues to think about, such as:
- What changes need to be made to a home to accommodate a wheelchair?
- Which mobility aides are most helpful in getting around?
- How can I help a loved one cope with the frustration of these mobility challenges?
- Where can I find extra help or care or assistance for a loved one?
Question 1: What Changes Need to be Made to a Home to Accommodate a Wheelchair?
There are many organizations that offer information and options to make a home more accessible. The United Spinal Association provides a page explicitly for advice on Home Modifications and gives information about:
- Paying for home modifications
- Accessible home design, and
- How to become your own self-advocate requesting modifications
- Take into account what might need to modified within your home, such as:
- Turning stairs and entrances into ramps
- Widening hallways
- Installing roll-in showers along with grab bars
- Raising toilets and installing grab bars or lifting device (such as PantsUpEasy lifting devices) near toilets
- Making sinks and counters level and within reach of wheelchair
- Widening doors and making them easier to open
Also see this blog: 8 Home Improvements to Make Your House More Wheelchair Accessible
Question 2: Which Mobility Aides Are Most Helpful in Getting Around?
Ask your doctor or occupational therapist about mobility aides to help a loved one get around better. Aides such as: clothing, cushions, ramps, transfer boards and transfer discs (to help slide out of bed), gloves, and other accessories.
Here are a two websites to located these aides that help to make life easier for a loved one with a disability:
- Endlessability.com – Mission is to help those living with a disability understand that their abilities remain endless. Not only does this company provide peer support and mentoring to those living with a spinal cord injury, but it also offers clothing that is both comfortable and accessible (while still remaining fashionable). Endless Ability Jeans is for anybody who uses a wheel chair. Via Endless Ability’s modified and adaptive high-rise rear, lowered front pockets, butt pocket removal, and catheter zipper (optional). Endless Ability Jeans adapt to your cathing needs. Whether you need to access your catheter without removing your jeans.
- Disabled-world.com – Provides Information on mobility aids for seniors and persons with disabilities including manual and electric wheelchairs and motorized scooters.
Question 3: How can I help my loved one cope with frustration about their mobility challenges?
- Remove all hazards that could result in fall or injury (remove any clutter from the floor, clear passageways from the bed to the bathroom, securely fasten all rugs, improve lighting throughout the home, install grab bars, adding banisters next to all steps that don’t have them, add graduated slope or ramps to entrance of home.
- Help them locate a support group. These groups can share coping strategies. Some groups like Disabilities R Us offer outstanding support and forums and resources for those who are in need of assistance.
- Help steer your loved one towards remaining physically active. There are plenty of aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises that persons with disabilities can incorporate into their daily habits. The following link on CDC.gov offers great details re: disability and health.
Question 4: Where can I find extra help or care or assistance for a loved one?
Care.com is a website with a listing of care providers for persons with disabilities. And visit this link to learn about organizations that help with financial assistance for amputees and veterans.
The Center for Parent Information and Resources provides information for adults with disabilities about organizations that provide information, referral, and/or direct services. The topics covered include:
Thanks to our caregivers, therapists, and crusaders for those within the disabled community, and with information and assistance at our fingertips – your loved one will be on their way to living a fuller, healthier, and happier life!