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Disabled and/or handicapped older adults face challenges every day that others often don't understand or even think about. Despite these challenges, they strive to live as independently as possible and want the same opportunities and choices in their lives as those without disabilities.
According to the American Community Survey, slightly more than 25% of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 reported living with a disability and 50% 75 and older reported the same in 2015.
These disabilities, the most common functional type being mobility limitation – defined as serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs, may result in the need to choose assisted living as their housing option.
According to the United States Census Bureau, a disabled person is someone who has difficulty performing functional tasks or activities of daily living (ADLs). Glen Fujiura, professor of disability studies at the University of Illinois, states, “The government definition takes in a lot of people who don't fit into the common idea: people in a wheelchair who've been there for most of their lives.” In fact, 90% of disabilities are invisible, and two people with the same type of disability may experience their disability differently; however, they often still require special living space modifications and/or arrangements in order to live a full life.
Title II of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 demands equal housing opportunities for the disabled at state and local levels. Since the ADA was passed, housing and housing options have increased and improved dramatically for people with disabilities.
There are many types of disabilities impacting people in different ways and to varying degrees. Disabilities loosely fall into 4 categories:
Of these categories, typically only two impact housing needs – physical and sensory.
The ADA has made a positive impact on the lives of the disabled and handicapped senior, ensuring that entrances into most senior housing options now include ramps and handrails and those with multiple stories have elevators. Therefore, housing options for disabled and handicapped seniors include:
The costs associated with these living options can vary tremendously. All costs are affected by location, services offered, level of care required and type of living space. All costs generally include housing, utilities, maintenance and upkeep, housekeeping and laundry services, meals, some form of transportation and all scheduled activities.
Monthly housing costs:
Most assisted living options are private pay, but Medicare and Medicaid cover the costs of medically necessary care that is recommended and certified by a doctor. Care received in a skilled nursing community and skilled nursing care offered in a nursing home or CCRC is generally covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Not all Adult Family Homes take Medicare or Medicaid.
People with disabilities can often receive funding assistance from the following:
There are many ways to locate assisted living housing options. These include:
People with disabilities use assistive devices in the home to enable them to be more independent. Examples of common assistive devices are walkers or canes which are used to assist with walking and to provide support to the body to remain upright. Assistive devices improve quality of life and increase independence. Let's look at a few assistive devices that can be used in the home.
Here are a few companies that offer assistive products/devices:
MaxiAids and EnableMart offer a wide range of products to assist with dressing, low vision products and tools for the blind, hearing products and devices for the deaf, and much more.
Companies like HIMS, Talking Tablet and Tobii Dynavox offer assistive technology devices to help people communicate more effectively and live more independent lives.
Companies like Petal Back, Buck & Buck, Silvert's and New Leaf Home Medical offer clothing and clothing products to make dressing and personal care easier.
When selecting assistive technology products to be used with computers, it's important to find products that are compatible with your computer's operating system.
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