Living with a disability can be an everyday struggle. These remarkable people have to deal with a lot of questions about their life, which often turns into a long and grueling road, paved with obstacles wherever they look or go. Remodeling a home or building one from the ground is one of those obstacles, and not just because of the often heavy financial commitment. Disability housing requires a lot of paperwork and involves a lot of tough questions that needs to be answered. In order to understand the situation a bit more, let’s take a more detailed look into the different scenarios, and the possible.
Table of Contents
- Types of housing for people with disabilities
- Help with assessing your needs
- Extending your current home
- Moving into owner occupation
Types of housing for people with disabilities
The relevant housing options available (and probably ideal) for people living with disabilities are amenity or medium dependency housing, barrier free housing, sheltered housing, very sheltered housing/extra care housing, wheelchair accessible housing, residential homes, nursing homes and supported accommodation.
Amenity or medium dependency housing
These type of housing options are usually suitable for the elderly or people who have very serious – and often advanced – mobility issues. When even going to a hospital in an ambulance seems like an unsurmountable task, amenity can be one of few remaining realistic options. Drastic disabled adaptations are usually required in these cases, like lower level access to a shower for example, or a community alarm.
Similarly to the amenity or medium dependency housing, sheltered housing options are mostly for older people. Naturally, if a younger person requires that kind of care as well, they can. The concept usually involves multiple bedroom properties in close vicinity, often with some kind of day care service in place. There is a warden who the residents can call in case of a possible emergency.
Very sheltered housing/extra care housing
Probably obvious from the distinction, this type of housing usually involves with very serious, often debilitating conditions, needed the higher level of support all throughout the day. A place like that usually involves shared facilities and a meal service as well. Full day care can also be an option places like these.
Wheelchair accessible housing
The purpose of these housing units is to accommodate wheelchair bound people who need an environment catered for their specific needs. These remarkable people can be very active and amazingly independent in the right environment, but they need that right environment. This means a home specifically designed for disabled needs, with a special emphasis on people with severe mobility issues or paralysis. The accessibility of the house, the shower or even the light switches, those are all important criteria for a person in a wheelchair.
Residents can generally offer simple yet effective accommodation for those in need. We are usually talking about a single room with a basic toilet and wash basin. What makes these residential homes fairly popular in the eyes disabled people, is the staff in place that’s usually available 24/7. Once can feel themselves quite safe under those circumstances, and that is a very large part of the original goal.
Nursing homes are fairly comparable to residential homes. Actually, they are basically one and the same, with one major difference. In nursing homes the staff is usually bigger, trying to satisfy the increased medical needs.
These options allow the people to share their experiences with a handful of others who have similar conditions to theirs. There is usually a single or a twin room and the support staff has a wide range of duties in those units, assisting with anything and everything, including cooking and/or cleaning.
Help with assessing your needs
The OTS (Occupational Therapy Service) will visit anybody to help assessing their specific situation, including deciding if they need a new housing option or not, and what kind if the answer to that dilemma is a resounding yes. The Occupational Therapy Service works by appointments, for which one may have to wait several weeks for.
Disabled adaptations for owner occupiers
The Home Improvement Service can offer their assistance in adapting one’s own or privately rented home. If one has a referral by the Occupational Therapy Service, they will able to get various types of help from the Home Improvement Service, including but not limited to quotes from quality contractors, but they can also help organizing a plan.
Extending your current home
Grants are also (possibly) available, with the Occupational Therapist’s recommendation. Even if that happens, the situation will be assessed first. Extending one’s home is not necessarily in their best interest. There are certain situations (mostly safety hazards) where this option is not only not ideal, but borderline impossible or downright dangerous.
Disabled adaptations for tenants
If the adaptations recommended (and probably needed) are simply too expensive or does not have enough practical qualities, moving to someplace else might be in the cards.
Disabled adaptations for housing association tenants
If someone is housing association tenant, they can recommend certain changes to their landlord, which when they are reasonable, he or she has to comply. From that point on it will be their task to carry out adaptation.
Disabled adaptations for private tenants
If someone privately rents their home, they can once again contact the OTS that will make certain recommendations to their landlord regarding certain adaptations within the home.
Moving home to meet your needs
The Registered Social Landlords (RSL) will welcome any application from anyone who already turned 16. If that anyone is offered a property, they can ask for the help of a therapist (usually an occupational therapist) to seek out the place, and help them decide if it is ideal for them or not. It is important to decide whether the housing solution is suitable for those specific needs or not, which means that the help of a professional is usually required.
Sometimes moving to a different property is the best way of meeting one’s need
Not every house is ideal for disabled needs. Sometimes the costs would be simply too high, or the location is not suitable. Maybe the local laws and regulations have certain limitations that severely slow down, or maybe even completely halt a disabled person’s progress regarding their housing process. In those cases, simply searching for a more ideal place is often the best solution.
Moving into owner occupation
There are certain laws that offer first-time buyers privileges. The scheme is naturally available to disabled people as well.
Anyone who is over the age of 16 can ask for housing options. After an initial assessment, the RSL (Registered Social Landlords) can assist with the process, essentially determining if that person’s application was legitimate or not.