by Ed Carter
PHOTO: Courtesy of Pixabay.com.
Fewer than 5 percent of all homes in the United States are accessible to individuals with disabilities; less than 1 percent are wheelchair accessible; and just one-third are capable of being modified to accommodate a disabled owner. That’s according to no less an authority than the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
It’s a distressing situation for disabled homeowners, because it means that many have to settle for properties that aren’t suitable for them from the standpoint of safety. Depending on the size of the market, that could mean having to try to modify a home that doesn’t meet the minimum standard of disabled accessibility: a stairless entry, and a bathroom and bedroom on the first floor.
That’s a sobering situation for a disabled person entering the housing market. So, where can you turn for help, and what resources are available to a handicapped individual? In most cases, your real estate agent is your best asset, even though many lack experience working with disabled buyers. Consequently, there’s a knowledge gap among realtors when it comes to knowing where and how to look for suitable housing.
Nevertheless, your agent will know the area well and have familiarity with what’s available, valuable knowledge for someone needing to find a property that can be adapted to their needs (such as a single-story house, a home with widened hallways, and specific safety features). With many disabled individuals having to modify houses, it’s important to know where to look for alternate sources of funding, such as through the VA, Red Cross, Americorps, the US Office of Housing, and HUD.
Real estate search engines are generally fairly limited in terms of search options. Terms like “handicapped accessible” and “universal design” may yield some results, but there are few other filters available that can produce the kind of results you need. General real estate search engines may prove disappointing, but there are a couple of national websites that are worth keeping an eye on as you work through your search.
Fortunately, it’s not all bad news for disabled homebuyers looking for online assistance. Barrier Free Home is virtually unique in its focus on barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible, universally-designed, ADA-compliant homes and apartments. Theirs is the most extensive database catering to disabled homebuyers. Barrier Free Home’s property entries contain an exhaustive amount of information, including number of bedrooms and baths, as well as handicapped-specific features, like roll-in shower or tub, roll-under sink, level entry and whether the property is VA approved.
Easy Living Homes falls into much the same category. It’s America’s first voluntary program encouraging the inclusion of features that make a property more accessible and efficient. An exhaustive list of features includes the type of lighting available, the kinds of material used in construction, and disability-accessible features. AMS Vans is a useful online resource for wheelchair-bound individuals seeking accessible housing.
HUD lists an online inventory of housing for elderly and disabled persons seeking multi-family homes. HUD’s subsidized apartment search offers disabled persons a robust listing of qualified units with information concerning suitability and accessibility for individuals with mobility restrictions and other special needs. A state-by-state search function provides an extensive listing of units in your area with physical features, contact information and whether each unit is specific to the needs of the disabled or elderly.
Finding a property that’s accessible to disabled buyers isn’t as easy as it is for people conducting searches on standard real estate websites. It takes some patience, flexibility, and knowing where to look. In the long run, your own persistence and the assistance of your real estate agent are your most valuable assets. As you search, bear in mind that some properties can be modified to meet your needs, which may help widen the parameters of your search.
SOURCE: news release
Town Hall Meeting – November 9 | Learn more about programs and services that allow individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind or have difficulty speaking to communicate over the phone
Download the above as a .pdf for sharing and printing here.
“Constance wants to help you care for your aging loved one. We will partner with you by offering you peace of mind and the assurance that you — and they — are not alone.
“We are offering a trial subscription to our basic ‘One Call’ service. One of our friendly, qualified Family Coordinators will call your loved one regularly, asking them basic questions about their mood, diet, and schedule.”
There’s No Place Like Home | New support for those caring for aging loved ones.
As time passes and technology advances, trends come and go, but we think one is here to stay: Aging in place. As the population ages, more and more people are choosing to stay in their own homes longer, or permanently. For some, it’s not a choice: “There is no place like home. Home is where the heart is.”
A study by AARP revealed most seniors share that belief: 90% of seniors stated they plan to live in their own homes for at least the next 5 to 10 years. While the desire to remain at home might be driven by sentimentalities, or by the wish to remain independent and in control, the cost of retirement communities isn’t convincing anyone to pack their bags. Entrance fees to these communities can cost upwards of $100,000, and additional monthly living expenses typically range from $2,000 to $4,000.
New Challenges | Remaining at home doesn’t come without its challenges, and this is especially true as those aging in place begin to require more care and assistance to stay safely at home.
The seniors’ children often fill the caregiver role, assisting their parents in various ways to ensure they are safe and have everything they need while alone at home. This can be difficult, however, as they often have their own nuclear family responsibilities and work commitments to attend to. Two challenges are overwhelmingly present across varying caregiver situations: 1) 24 hours a day is not enough time to manage their loved one’s care, and 2) there is almost constant stress and worry as they think about their loved one’s well-being at home. A majority of caregivers wish they had more help in managing their loved one’s care, and often, they don’t have anyone to help them. That’s why we created Constance.
A New Solution | Constance brings peace of mind to families caring for seniors. With Constance, families know there is always someone looking after their loved one. And when they need help, things will get done with little hassle. Constance calls several seniors every day, to talk about what they’ve eaten, what their plans are, and to make sure they have everything they need. Family members receive a report after the conversation, to let them know how their loved one is doing that day.
It’s Time | If you or someone you know is grappling with the challenges of caring for an aging loved one, there is an opportunity to participate in the support Constance has to offer.
Let us help!
The Institute on Aging’s 24-hour toll-free Friendship Line is the only accredited crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older, and adults living with disabilities. We also make on-going outreach calls to lonely older adults.
To make a referral right now, please fill out the Friendship Line Intake Form.
This article is so important — not only for the people we serve — but for everyone you know. We’ve already posted it at the Link to Aging and Disability Resources facebook pages.
by Hazma Shaban
“Nearly half of all cellphone calls next year will come from scammers, according to First Orion, a company that provides phone carriers and their customers caller ID and call blocking technology.
“The Arkansas-based firm projects an explosion of incoming spam calls, marking a leap from 3.7 percent of total calls in 2017 to more than 29 percent this year, to a projected 45 percent by early 2019.
“’Year after year, the scam-call epidemic bombards consumers at record-breaking levels, surpassing the previous year, and scammers increasingly invade our privacy at new extremes,’ Charles Morgan, the chief executive and head data scientist of First Orion, said in a blog post last week.”
Read this article in The Washington Post in its entirety, click here.
“Media portrayals of sexuality often focus on a visual and verbal vocabulary that is young, white, cisgender, heterosexual and…not disabled.” from http://www.shutterstock.com
by Phillippa Carnemola
“People living with disability are largely excluded from conversations about sexuality, and face overlapping barriers to sexual expression that are both social and physical.
“Media portrayals of sexuality often focus on a visual and verbal vocabulary that is young, white, cisgender, heterosexual and … not disabled.
“My research into inclusive design explores how design can – intentionally or unintentionally – exclude marginalised or vulnerable people, as well as how design can ensure that everyone is included. That might mean design of the built environment, everyday products, or even how information is presented.”
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) receives $25,000 grant to help more people with disabilities achieve independence
King of Prussia, PA – The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) at 1004 Ninth Avenue in King of Prussia, PA has received a $25,000 grant from the House of Rest Endowment Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation to expand its financial products into southeast Pennsylvania. Announcement of the grant was made by Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO of the Foundation.
Susan Tachau, Executive Director of PATF, said the funds would be used to increase the number of people with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians in southeast Pennsylvania who will be able to finance the assistive technology they need in order to lead more independent lives. “Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities,” said Tachau. Adapted AT devices may include such items as:
- Adapted Vehicles;
- Computers, iPads, and tablet software and hardware;
- Smart home technology such as (but not limited to) the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Nest, Ring, etc.;
- Adapted sports equipment;
- Hearing aids and other devices for people who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing;
- Home modifications (ramps, showers, counter tops);
- Scooters and wheelchairs;
- Seat lift chairs; and
- Safety and security devices.
Through loans valued at more than $37 million and with over 14,000 Pennsylvanians helped since its founding in 1998, PATF is considered one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensiveAlternative Financing Programs (AFP). To learn more about PATF’s loan products, financial education curriculum, and development services, please visit www.patf.us.
“Technology has become fully integrated into our daily lives; smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices connect us to the world at large and allow us to share in the lives of our close friends and family. Seniors across the globe have tried with varying success to embrace technology to stay in touch with loved ones and perform basic functions at home.
“Tablet devices, with their array of options, menus, and applications, can prove too difficult for most seniors to effectively use. As such, many companies have developed tablets designed specifically for seniors as a way to boost revenue and reach this key demographic. But are these tablets really worth the investment? This infographic from grandPad helps highlight key features of the grandPad tablet, other senior tablets, and the standard tablets on the market.
We’re sharing this link and infographic received in an email from next avenue. This is not an endorsement but is shared in the interest of information sharing.
“Not only do Next Avenue readers get a special discount, but for every grandPad sold using the code nextave, grandPad will make a contribution to Next Avenue that helps support our non-profit journalism.”
The Annual Plan (regularly $65.50)$49 /month – billed upfront annually.