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When you are disabled, you face all kinds of barriers throughout your life due to the world not being accessible for disabled people. You would think that the one place that is fully accessible for disabled people is our home but even that is not always fully accessible unless we have our own apartment and can make it fully accessible. Some disabled people do have fully accessible apartments because they live alone and can adapt to their disability but not everyone can afford that because living is more expensive when your disabled and some people need their parents to help support them. I still live with my parents not because I think I couldn’t, but I was since you have so much discrimination it job interviews as a disabled person, I was never able to find employment so I wouldn’t be able to financially be able to support myself. My home is mostly accessible but if someone were to ask me if it was completely accessible, I would say no because it isn’t The things, I use every day are accessible to me but there are a lot of things that I cannot get easily and struggle with on a consistent basis. In this post, I am going to talk about how you can make your home more accessible so it’s easier and less frustrating for disabled people to basically live!
Have larger doorways – I am able to get out of my wheelchair if my chair doesn’t fit through a doorway but not all disabled people can and some people don’t have the ability to walk so if their chair doesn’t fit through a doorway, they are pretty much stuck. Houses are not made with disabled people in mind because you can’t fit a normal-sized wheelchair through a standard doorway without nicking up your walls. Some disabled people that are unable to walk in the bathroom have to get their doorways custom made so their chair fits in easily but that can cost a pretty penny and disabled shouldn’t have to do that, but it should already be big enough. Before I had hip surgery, I thought the doorways in my house were a decent size until I came home from the hospital after hip surgery and my regular-sized wheelchair didn’t fit through any of our bathrooms and I just barely squeezed into my room. I was heavily relying on my wheelchair for about six weeks while I was recovering because my doctor wanted my hip to heal a bit before I started walking on it and even after that my walking was not great so I needed my wheelchair for more thing than I usually would. We had to get my grandma’s small transport chair that fit in our bathroom easier just so I could take a shower but this is a problem because not all disabled people will have that kind of assistance when things are not accessible I would love to invite my friends over to my house to hangout but it’s just not an option because my small wheelchair barely fits through doorways and my friends have larger chairs!
Remember we fall more easily– Whenever I am at home or at a friend’s house I am always on the lookout for random obstacles and spills because people tend to forget that my disability makes my stability not that great so I can have a wipeout in an instant. Sometimes I will literally watch an abled person spill water and walk away from it or just do a tiny little swipe like that’s enough. I will be thinking to myself are you going to clean that up? Spilled water is not as much of an issue for abled people because they can see it and feel it if they feel something slippery, but I don’t have that because I don’t always see it and I have no feeling in my feet, so I won’t be able feel it until it’s already too late. If you want to make my life infinitely easier close cabinets and thoroughly clean up your water messes so I don’t have to worry about falling. Open cabinets may not seem like a big deal but for a disabled person it can be a huge obstacle because we can run into things that are left open if we happen to not see it or just have difficulty shutting it so we can walk by.
Keep food in the front of the fridge- There are many reasons why a disabled person may make poor food choices and its usually because many disabled people can grocery shop by themselves and rely on someone else to feed them or they literally cannot reach the healthy stuff. There is not always someone around to help you get something you cannot reach and sometimes you have to improvise to less healthier options. Try and keep foods, coffee creamers, or any kind of drink that disabled people would use regularly in the front of the fridge because if it’s towards the back it’s too hard to get and disabled people will not go the extra mile to make a salad. . The stuff I use regularly, for the most part, is kept towards the front because my mom has a lower shelf in our fridge where she keeps stuff for me but sometimes my coffee creamer or juice does get pushed towards the back and it’s frustrating because if it’s too far, I can’t reach it. I do ask for help if there is someone around to help but there not always is and sometimes, I just have to do without it!
Grip bar in the shower-Showers are hard when you have a physical disability because there is so little that your assistive devices can do for you when it’s wet. Assistive devices can change your life and make everything easier but it’s not a friend to water because all crutches do when you put them in a puddle of water is slip. I don’t like to take my crutches in the shower because there is too much water, and they just get in the way of things rather than help. There is nothing you can put in your shower that will give you zero percent fall risk because there is always more a of risk when you have a physical disability, but you can’t take safety precautions to make it less likely. Grab bars can give you more stability while in the shower and help prevent falls because you will have something to grab onto if you feel yourself start to fall as opposed to nothing at all which can be serious and lead to a medical emergency. I fall mostly not on dry land but when I am in the shower so having something to grab onto has been helpful in preventing falls that would lead to emergency room visits especially during my hip recovering where I am significantly less stable than I normally would be.
Sit down while brushing your teeth– When you have a physical disability standing up to brush your teeth can be difficult and impossible for some people. Some people don’t have the ability to stand and if they can it’s for very short periods of time. I don’t stand to brush my teeth because my disability makes it so I can only stand for a few minutes before I get fatigued and becomes uncomfortable. If I am standing too long my legs will actually give out and I will fall over because too much standing can aggravate my hips and causes intense pain. I do not brush my teeth while standing up because even though it’s only a few minutes it can be a lot for me. Instead, I sit with the toilet seat down and have a container that I spit into that allows me to brush my teeth with ease.. I probably could brush my teeth standing up but I don’t think I would do as good of a job because I would try and do it more quickly so I can rest my legs!
Have a switch for your ceiling fan- Disabled people are going to get hot just like abled people do but it’s not always as easy to cool yourself down as a disabled person and there is nothing worse than being drenched in sweat unable to cool yourself. Ceiling fans are not accessible for disabled people because most people with physical disabilities are too short to reach the switch and can’t shut it on or off safely. Most people with physical disabilities have to stand on a chair when they can’t reach something which can get dangerous real fast since your stability is not as good. Whether you like it or not disabled people will try to do things before they ask for help even if it’s dangerous and they shouldn’t be because we like that independence. If you want to make it easier and safer for disabled people to stay cool get some kind of remote control that allows us to be in the control of the fan because when we have to ask for help for things, we shouldn’t have to it feels like our independence is being taken from us.
Accessibility is important to disabled people because we can’t function without it but is often overlooked or brushed off because society doesn’t see it as something that’s important. Accessibility end at having a ramp in your front yard and there is so much that disabled people need to make their lives. Most people don’t know what it means to be accessible and for that reason, we are not closer to living in a more accessible world for disabled people. Disabled people are constantly working through barriers, and it doesn’t stop in our own homes because we still face just as many obstacles. If you know a disabled person, it’s important that you make your home as accessible as possible even if we don’t live with you because it doesn’t make disabled people want to visit if it’s a whole process to get in your bathroom. I don’t expect my home to be totally accessible because I still live at home and can’t modify completely to my needs but it’s still frustrating to have daily obstacles that shouldn’t be that hard. Every disability has different needs and has different opinions on what they think is accessible. These are things that would make my life easier but not necessarily for all disabilities because we are all so different. How do you make your home accessible for disabled people?
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