Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

Adaptive Equipment – Kitchen

March 24th 2008

Cooking and navigating the kitchen can be a chore for many people who have limited physical abilities. An accessible kitchen may be the answer you are looking for to create an environment that is easy and convenient for all who use this space.

When designing an accessible kitchen, there are several things you should consider:

1. Safety: non-slip floor surfaces, lighting, and non-protruding, rounded-off corner surfaces

2. Mobility: Is there adequate space for movement of a scooter or wheelchair?

3. Accessibility: Can the kitchen be easily accessed from one or more connecting rooms and/or hallways, or are there barriers to prevent access?

4. Function: Can the appliances, counter tops, cabinets, sinks and fixtures be accessed by everyone?

When designing your home, you can create a kitchen to meet your needs by installing ADA compliant cabinets, shelves, kitchen sinks, adjustable height counters, and appliance lifts.

Installing appliances and sinks lower to the ground can make it easier for someone in a wheelchair to access these vital kitchen components. Cabinets that lack handles can be difficult to open, installing easy to grab handles is a great way to improve functionality and is an improvement that will benefit everyone. Take into consideration the location of dishes, cooking utensils and food. Keep items organized and in the same place to eliminate unnecessary time spent looking for them. Additionally Braille, large print or colored labels can aid in locating items.

For more information on accessible kitchens visit:

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Adaptive Equipment – Bathroom

March 5th 2008

Many homeowners consider altering their home to create a barrier free environment. Now you ask, what is a barrier free home? A barrier free home is a home designed without any limitations to the freedom of movement and offers easier access for the individual.

When you have limited mobility, using a bathroom can become a nightmare especially if you need assistance. As bathing becomes more challenging, many people avoid taking care of their hygiene because they find using the bathroom is too painful for them, causing embarrassment. Needing assistance with bathing can damage a person’s pride and eventually make them avoid using the bathroom.

By creating a barrier-free bathroom, our immediate goal is to present safety features, accessible fixtures and accessories which promote independence while maintaining your decorative style.

If you are in need of a barrier free bathroom, instead of tearing down your existing bathroom, you can do some simple adjustments to suit your individual needs. Barrier free bathrooms should be designed to accommodate the maximum amount of moving space required for a disabled person, their wheelchair, and the possibility of a second person assisting the disabled person.

Examples of modified bathrooms include: roll-in showers, grab bars and shower seats, easy-access bath tubs, slip-proof floors, sinks and toilets.

Links to additional resources:

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Adaptive Equipment

February 26th 2008

The following blog post is the beginning of a multi-part series on Adaptive Equipment for your home. In the next series of posts we will be discussing different solutions to your access needs for different areas in and around your home.


Using a computer can be quite a challenge depending on your disability. With today’s technology, accessing your computer is easier than ever before with the help of a variety of devices designed to meet your specific needs.

Purchasing adaptive computer equipment made specifically for people who have a difficult time using the traditional computer and mouse will make your time more productive and your efforts less cumbersome.

Adaptive computer technology is the use of special computer software and hardware to aid people with disabilities in accomplishing challenging tasks. Providing adaptive computer equipment to people with disabilities gives disabled people the opportunity to complete an education and have a job.

Examples of computer adaptive equipment that allow individuals with disabilities to have better access to computers include: modified or alternate keyboards, touch screen monitors, and voice to text software.

Using adaptive computer equipment gives people the opportunity to have complete access to computers and the internet, allowing tasks to be completed. Tasks made possible through adaptive equipment include: reading, writing, taking notes, communicating, and accessing on-line information.

For more information on adaptive computer equipment visit:

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Guidelines for Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

February 13th 2008

Are you considering an assisted living facility for yourself or someone you know? Relocating to an assisted living facility is a difficult decision to make. Before making your final decision, you need to determine if this is the right decision for the individual. Assisted living facilities are perfect for individuals who need help with daily living activities but who want to continue to live their life independently as long as they can. Upon arrival, the facility will meet with the individual and create a service plan to meet your needs including specific services requested by the resident and guaranteed by the facility.

When you have narrowed your choices to 2 or 3 different places, it is time for an on-site visit, to meet with the administrator and medical professionals. While visiting, consider if the facility looks, feels, and smells good. Talk to some of the residents and get feedback on their experiences at the facility. During your appointment, ask yourself if the center:

* Meets your individual needs, including safety measures?

* Is the facility wheelchair and walker friendly?

* What is the availability of the units and their cost?

* How are the residents greeted? Are the resident greeted by their first name?

* What is the temperature and cleanliness of the facility?

* Can the residents choose to eat in their rooms or the dining room?

* Is the food nutritious, appetizing, and prepared according to dietary restrictions?

* Are pets allowed in facility?

* Are the residents content to be living at the facility?

* What are the qualifications and availability of the staff?

* What services are available to meet your needs?

* What types of programs do they offer and what is the availability?

* Does the facility meet local and state licensing requirements?

* Is government, private, or corporate assistance available?

* What are the costs, including any additional fees for extra services?

* Are residents provided with a service plan reviewed on a quarterly basis?

For more information visit:

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Employment for Disabled

December 17th 2007

Are you disabled and seeking employment? Being a job seeker is hard enough, but if you have a disability it can be even more difficult and frustrating. Employers sometimes refuse to hire people with disabilities which angers the job seeker and often discourages them from continuing their job search. This is why it is very important to provide your future employer with a reason why you should be hired instead of someone else. Here is some information that will assist you in your employment search.


How to Search For a Job If You Have a Disability:


1. Determine your unique abilities. What tasks can you accomplish based on your skills? You need to explain the following: what are your talents, why you are the best candidate based on your knowledge, what your past experiences are and why your disability will not get in the way of this.


2. When completing the employment application, indicate your disability only if it asks the question. If you enter the interview without disclosing your disability, inform your future employer about your impairments before you begin your employment. When discussing your unique situation, indicate the necessary accommodations to be made, if needed.


3. When conducting your job search, look for the 'Positive about disabled people' icon on job advertisements.


4. Locate a government agency, such as the Jobcentre that will assist people with disabilities. Often, a state employment office or vocational rehabilitation center can help with job hunting, placement and advise with your job search.

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Questions to Ask When Purchasing an Accessible Home

November 27th 2007

Are you in the market to purchase a home? Buying an accessible home can be not only stressful but terrifying if you don’t know what to look for when purchasing your new home. Since purchasing a home is such an overwhelming experience, many people seek the assistance of a licensed REALTOR®

to help them find their home. While working with your Real Estate Agent, you will need to determine what level of accessibility you require for your new home. Just because a property is listed as an accessible home, it doesn’t mean that it will meet your needs. After evaluating the house, you can then decide if it meets your accessibility needs.


While you are evaluating a dwelling, there are many factors you need to consider. You will need to evaluate each home separately to see if they meet your accessibility needs.


Here are some questions to ask your REALTOR® when purchasing an accessible home. Use these questions as a guide in deciding if a residence will fit your needs. They are also helpful in deciding what type of modifications are needed before you move.


1. Where is the home located? You will want to consider if it is located in a safe area, and if it is going to be convenient for you. After evaluating the home for accessibility, you should ask yourself if you are going to be comfortable living in the home.


2. Are there stairs at all the entrances? How many? Will you be able to get through the front/back door? Can you enter the home safely? Can you enter the home by yourself or will you need assistance getting through the entrances? Can you reach the lock and the door handles? What kind of locks does the home have? If you use a wheelchair, is there a ramp at the front entrance? Do you have acceptable lighting at the front and back entrances? Do you have access to the peep hole on your door?


3. In the rooms of the home, do you have access to the light switches, blinds, and windows? Is the flooring adequate? Can you operate the thermostat, smoke detectors and security alarms? Are the hallways wide enough? If you have a wheelchair, do you have room to turn around in the hallway?


4. Are the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry rooms accessible? Will they require modifications such as grab bars? Are the sinks and counters lowered?


5. Will you have difficulty moving from your vehicle to inside the home such as uneven pavement, stairs, or an alley?


If you have any comments or resources relating to Questions to Ask When Purchasing an Accessible Home, please submit them.


Thanks and Have a Happy Holiday Season!

Denise Naspinski

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