6 Tips for Living Independently With a Disability
These days, it is easier than ever for people with a disability to live independently in their own homes. Living independently doesn’t mean they can do everything themselves; it just means they want the same amount of control over their lives as those who don’t have disabilities, and they do what is necessary to ensure they have it. Nevertheless, it can feel like a daunting task when you don’t know where to begin. That’s why we have put together these tips for living independently with a disability.
1) Build a Support System – Getting the support you need to live independently is the primary key in making it a reality. Without the right support, doing so can be almost impossible. Depending on your disability, you might need several different types of support or you might need minimal support. Here are some of the choices available to you:
Family and Friends – Many times, your family and friends can help with daily living activities you might need help with like cleaning, laundry, cooking, shopping, etc. They may be able to drive you places you need to go. They might be able to brainstorm with you on how to best develop methods for independent living. And most importantly, they can provide social engagement and joyful interaction.
Home Care Aides – Hiring a home care aide is one of the most important tips for living independently with a disability because you can completely design your care program around your individual needs. Some of the things home care aides can assist you with include: daily living activities, personal care, companion care, transitional care, and even rehabilitation care, and much more. You can hire them on an hourly, daily or as needed basis, and this is often a much less expensive option that round-the-clock care at a facility, providing you with the best of both worlds: living at home and paying less! You can learn more about home care by downloading the following e-book: Home Care Solution Guide
Centers for Independent Living (CILs) – These centers are run by people with disabilities and they provide numerous resources, which include: peer support groups, role modeling, Independent Living Skills classes, housing referrals and adaptation, personal assistance referrals, legal aid, and more. Find the local center near you here.
Disability Resource Agency for Independent Living (DRAIL) – This organization provides a plethora of resources, services and technology information for people with disabilities who want to live independently. You can visit their website to learn more about support groups, assistive technology, community programs and other disability resources.
2) Make Your Home Conducive to Your Needs – In order to live independently in your house, you will likely need to make some modifications to make it conducive to your unique needs. Some of the changes you might want to consider include:
- Ensure furniture is arranged for the best flow and eliminate clutter that could lead to falls.
- Are there doors that need to be widened to accommodate a wheelchair or walker?
- Make sure you can easily get on to and off of sofas, chairs and beds.
- Do you need to install a handrail, stair lift or ramp?
- Do you need to install more light switches?
- Consider setting up lights on a remote.
- Tuck away cords and wires.
- Do you need to lower any items or surfaces to better accommodate a wheelchair?
- Does any carpeting need to be removed?
- Do you need to install a bench and/or grab bars in the shower?
3) Get the Financial Aid You Need – There are numerous grants, programs and strategies available that can help you live independently. We have covered many of these option in the following articles:
4) Get the Equipment You Need – Getting set up with the right equipment will ensure that living independently will be a success for you. Mobility aids like walkers, canes or wheelchairs might be necessary. Adaptive driving equipment, talking devices, electronic magnifiers, and braces and support devices are some other options. DRAIL can help you assess your needs.
5) Hire Accompaniment Transportation – This form of transportation is best for those with disabilities because it is so much more than just a taxi service. It is typically carried out by a home health care aide who will accompany you to your destination, stay with you if you need, and bring you safely into your home upon return. You can learn more about Accompaniment Transportation here.
6) Get Your Head Right – None of the above will be successful if you don’t get your hear right. To live independently, you will need to get empowered! You are the best expert when it comes to your needs, so take initiative to design your own custom care plan. Let go of the pain of not being able to do things the way you used to and focus on what you can do to create the best life for yourself.
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net, Praisaeng