People with disabilities cherish their independence, but moving into a new home can be intimidating for them. Moving is a job in which everyone generally requires help, whether they have physical challenges or not.
There are ways to help make things easier. Some involve preparing the new home to accommodate the person’s disabilities, but there are other ways to be helpful as well. Understand that changing homes can be stressful for anyone, but particularly for those with special needs. Listen, be supportive and focus on the positive aspects of the move.
Remember that by depending on you to help them move, disabled people have the goal of becoming more independent after moving.
Some valuable moving tips for how to help disabled people relocate to a new home:
- Moving clutters the mind. Meet several times with the person you’re helping and go over all details big and small. The interaction will bring up aspects of the move that you both may have forgotten.
- Financial help with moving expenses may be available for disabled people who have financially challenges as well. Investigate government and community resources.
- Ask neighbors-to-be about the area. They may know of nearby organizations and/or services for the disabled that may be of value.
- Ask moving companies that you are considering hiring if they have any experience in relocating people who have physically challenges. Hire one that does.
- It may be better to hire a moving service that will both pack everything in the old home and unpack it in the new home. Meet with the disabled person to decide what will go where, and then help direct the movers.
- Moving is a good time to streamline. Help the disabled person go through his or her possessions. Encourage them to part with the ones they no longer need and help them preserve the things they absolutely want to keep. You might find yourself assisting with a garage sale.
- Gather all of the person’s medical records and keep them separate from everything else being moved and easily accessible.
- Locate the nearest emergency and heath care services in the area, such as hospitals. Create a readily accessible list of essential contacts. If the disabled person is retaining a doctor that may not be in the area, plan how to get him or her back and forth.
- Notify the person’s doctors and any support specialists of when and where their patient is moving. If the disabled person receives in-home care, make sure that all arrangements are made so that the service will be uninterrupted.
- Locate a nearby pharmacy to fill prescriptions and have that information transferred there.
- Make sure that all utility services are transferred and operating before the move. The person may have medical equipment that absolutely requires functioning utility services. Phone and Internet services are as essential to the disabled as electricity, water and gas.
- Address accessibility concerns. Ramps, lifts, bars and other supports may be necessary, and doorways and hallways may need to be altered. Make sure all of that work is completed before time to move. Do whatever necessary to ensure that the disabled person can be as independent as possible. Their appreciation will be immense.
“Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.” - Neil Marcus, award-winning playwright, actor, poet and performance artist