Cerebral Palsy & Home Modifications

A home is supposed to be a safe haven. A place where you feel most comfortable and at peace. You should have a sense of belonging when it comes to your home. When it does not have proper modifications, you can end up feeling like a stranger in your own home. Your home should allow you to relax and enjoy yourself. If you are in a constant struggle when it comes to being able to function to your highest potential, it can limit you from enjoying your life to the fullest. When you live with Cerebral Palsy, home modifications can make all the difference in living independently or dependently. Improper home modifications can decrease limits of an individual. You should be able to get ready and take care of yourself in your home. Barriers can make you resist from going out and create difficulties from being able to attend important appointments.

Cerebral Palsy affects people differently, only a person with CP will know what is best for them and how to create the best environment to assess where problems occur. However, you can also talk with an occupational therapist to see what best may fit needs. They will be able to do an assessment and let you know what modifications can be achieved. Do you rent your home or apartment? Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act, renters must be allowed to perform reasonable accommodations on request by their landlord. If you are building a home or making changes you can do your research on builders who have the most experience and the best portfolio in designing homes to fit your needs.

Everyone deserves a safe environment. Homes are our own personal territory, providing privacy and security. Where we can control who can enter our personal space. To help keep this, locks and door handles should be easily accessible and be stress-free to use. For added security a peephole to see who is knocking at your door should be at your own custom eye-level. Modifications that help aid in security and basic function come in the form of light switch adaptions. New technology has emerged where you can control the lights and other various electronics of a home on your smartphone.

If you do let the stranger knocking in, the space around the door should provide adequate room to use a wheelchair in moving about and turning around.  Doorway widths should always be measured so arriving and departing is simple. Rooms should also be very open so there is no need to worry about maneuvering around furniture with clear passages to move from one room to the next. If there are stairs in the living space, they should be sturdy and the area needs to be well lit. Homes can also receive wider steps that give more room and prevent the likeliness of tripping.

Self-care is high importance when it comes to your health and wellbeing. Independent self-care can be made possible with easy access to towel racks and toiletries on lowered sinks. Installing grab bars next to toilets can give stable support when needed. Showers can become simpler with the use of adjustable shower heads or hand held options.  Furthermore, showers can be designed to not include a tub or curbless that includes a wide opening without doors. Incorporating a built-in shower seat to your bathroom is another modification that can aid in self-care. You can obtain ones that can be simply placed in a shower without construction or complex installation.

Preparing and eating meals is essential in leading and maintaining an independent lifestyle. Yet, in a study of people living with Cerebral Palsy, it was found that refrigerators were only accessible to 46.7%.That percentage was the amount that could independently open the appliance door and take food out. Using a refrigerator that has sliding draws and shelves can help with this if someone uses a wheelchair. Lowering cabinetry can also benefit when it comes to food storage. When it comes to cleaning and preparing meals, a roll out sink in the kitchen area makes things less of a hassle. Modification in the form of removing cabinetry from under the sink is another option for wheelchair users. When it comes to actual cooking, purchasing a stove or oven with controls or buttons placed on the front side closest to the user as in right above the oven door gives better usability.

When your home limits your movement and mobility, you can feel trapped. Being able to live in a home that offers customization to fit you, gains confidence. Not only allowing you to feel more at ease but also by giving you the capability to complete daily tasks. Modification can mean the difference in being able to live independently. It can also let others rest easy knowing you are not in harm’s way.

If you would like more information on home modification, contact our care team by calling (800) 692-4453. We provide resources on the subject including resources on occupational therapists, architectural designers and loan specialists to ensure you the best home modification assistance to fit your needs.