Accessible Home Remodeling

by Rachel Laurendeau on June 4, 2012

If you or a loved one have a disability or medical condition that affects your mobility, you’ve surely thought of all the improvements that need to be made to your home to make it barrier free. Adaptive retrofitting is the process of creating solutions for your home that allow you the maximum amount of independence given your specific disability or health issues.

The purpose of this blog is not to list off all of the changes you need to make to your home since I believe that, as much as possible, each home should be adapted to its occupants’ specific needs. Rather, the purpose is to help you get started in your thinking about the process that needs to be undertaken.

• You can contact an accessibility specialist, who will help you recognize access needs throughout your home prior to beginning your remodeling. Typically, they will conduct a simple evaluation of your home and discuss some of the major issues with you and help you come up with a plan to move forward.

• Then, take this plan to your home remodeling contractor and use it as a starting point. Making your home accessible or adapting it to your needs can take longer than expected and be quite costly so be sure to work with an experienced contractor who understand your needs.

• When coming to terms with a progressive illness or an injury, dealing with the modifications that need to be made to the home is just one part of a much larger picture. However, it is an aspect that can have a large impact on a person’s outlook on life and on how they feel about their independence. Since adaptive retrofitting is a major home improvement, it can take several months to complete. Beginning the search for home access solutions as soon as possible will facilitate the best possible outcome.

• When undertaking a home remodeling or installing special equipment in your home to accommodate a disability or medical condition, there are federal and state tax incentives that you can look into to help you recover some of your costs. Be sure to keep all of your receipts and talk to your tax accountant for more details.

• If you are building a new home, consider including some of the elements of accessible design right away, even if you don’t need them at the moment. That way, down the road, a retrofit will be easy and less expensive. Since there are few well designed barrier-free homes on the market, this can also increase your home’s value and be a good selling feature later on.

If you found this blog post interesting, you may also want to read Living With Arthritis – Adapting Your Home and Shower Designed For Safety.

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