Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: I am a person with a disability and I need to modify my home so that it is more accessible. What resources, research, and information are available to help me modify my home? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that support and empower people with disabilities to age-in-place; smart home technology; a survey on home accessibility; the necessary steps to modify a home; home modifications for children with disabilities; visitability; aging-in-place; and more. More about Answered Questions.
The RERC on Technologies to Support Aging-In-Place for People with Long-Term Disabilities (TechSAge RERC II) (in English) supports and empowers people with chronic conditions and long-term disabilities to age-in-place through increasing knowledge about, availability of, and access to effective design and technologies that enable individuals to sustain independence; maintain health, engage safely in basic activities at home and in the community; and fully participate in society. The TechSAge RERC II provides training through two programs: the Blended Online and In-Person Learning Program (in English) and the TechSAge Design Competition (in English), which provide professionals and students with the basic skills in universal design, accessibility, rehabilitation engineering research, and development of technologies for aging-in-place and other related innovative products. This RERC also provides a wide variety of resources (in English), from publications, technology products, and tools to podcasts, videos, and webinars.
From the NARIC Collection:
Although Smart Home technology was not designed specifically for people with disabilities, this technology may increase independence with tasks in the home, such as adjusting the temperature, the lighting, cleaning, and maintaining home security. The article, Internet-connected technology in the home for adaptive living (in English) discusses the integrated systems of Smart Home technology and, as they continue to advance in their capability and availability, they have the potential to grow as adaptive applications. This article highlights categories of currently available consumer devices with the potential for application to adaptive living and outlines the ways in which these novel devices might augment more traditional approaches to maximize function.
Research In Focus:
Home features, like stairs and narrow doorways, make homes less accessible for people with mobility disabilities. The article, Survey Shows the Majority of People with Disabilities May Not Be Living in Accessible Homes, discusses a study from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center in Rural Communities (RTC: Rural) (in English) in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Research Training Center on Community Living (in English) that looked at publicly available housing data to see how many people with mobility disabilities are living in homes with accessibility problems, what kinds of problems are most common, and which types of homes are likely to have problems. The researchers found that older homes were less accessible than newer homes and that the most common accessibility problems differed between renters and homeowners. This article is also available in English.
The article, Home modification for people with disabilities, discusses home modification projects that permit mobility, autonomy, entertainment, and communication for people with and without disabilities. The article discusses the steps that homeowners with disabilities may take to modify their homes to fit their needs, including being specific about the required results of the modification, the phases of the home modification process, accessibility solutions for different rooms in the home, and more. The article also discusses smart home systems that assist in making the home more accessible.
Children with Disabilities:
Parents of children with disabilities may desire to modify their home so that it is accessible to their child with disabilities or special needs. The article, Home modifications for children with disabilities, discusses how parents may implement home modifications specific for their child’s needs, such as modifications for mobility or sensory disabilities, and options to pay for these modifications. The article also discusses what to do if parents are renting their home, and more. This article is available in English.
As the population ages, many people may age with and into disability and it may be necessary to modify their home to ensure their maximum safety, comfort, and independence. The article, Aging at home: How does one adapt a home for older adults?, discusses how to modify a home for older adults aging into disability, provides basic advice on secure homes for older adults, and things to keep in mind before modifying the home. The article also breaks down the different areas of the home, inside and out, that may need modification and discusses the importance of home modification for older adults aging into disability as they age-in-place.
People with disabilities and chronic illnesses and those aging into disability may have reduced mobility, which may make daily tasks around their home more challenging. The article, Intelligent technology transforms the lives of people who live with disabilities, discusses how smart homes may dramatically increase the accessibility of a home and may be game changers for people with and aging into disabilities. The article defines the term smart home and describes how intelligent technology and smart homes may help people with disabilities. Examples include voice activated environmental controls and smart phone controlled security systems.
- The guide, Smart home devices bring independence (in English), describes some smart home devices and the applications used to control them from other smart devices, such as phones or tablets. The devices described in this guide may help increase independence and enable people with disabilities to gain greater control over their home.
- The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) (in English) hosts Visitability.org (in English), a website that provides information and news on construction, townhomes, costs, policy strategies, and resources. Visitability.org also provides information on visitability (in English) for people without disabilities so that they can make their homes accessible to their family and friends with disabilities.
- I have a disability and need to adapt my home to fit my needs. What Resources and information are available so that I can modify my home? Is an FAQ from NARIC that discusses resources available to people with disabilities that may assist them in modifying their homes to fit their needs. These resources include finding remodeling professionals/Aging-in-Place Programs, financial aid, independent living, assistive technology, and resources for renters. The FAQ is available in English.
About Answered Questions Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.