Planning for Future Accessibility Needs


Mirror, Mirror on the wall… can I request a crystal ball?

If only it was that easy to see into the future and tell what Roa’s needs will be when he is age 10 or 18 or 25. Will he be wheelchair-bound the majority of his day? A power chair or will he manage his manual with independence? Will he require assistive technology to communicate? Will he use a walker to move throughout the home? Will he live with us through his adulthood?

All of these questions run through my head as I lay to sleep each night. Bryan and I discuss all options- hopes, dreams, and desires mixed with a splash of fear and a cup of reality. We wouldn’t try to read so much into what the future will bring if it wasn’t for this house building project. Putting so much money into your forever-home is a stressful task. You want to be prepared for anything, yet not throw money into things that might not be necessary. Thus far, we have decided on a few essential barrier free items and need to further evaluate funding and necessity of the others.

First of all, the no-brainer wide doorways, hallways, and entries are set. Also, a pocket door from Roa’s bedroom to the boys shared bath will help minimize mobility obstacles while still offering privacy. The boy’s bathroom will have a roll under sink and a roll-in shower.

Barrier free showeer and accessible bathroomFor Planning for future accessibility needsspace issues, the bathtub will be in the Master bath. Being 5, Roa still takes a bath with a bath chair for support, however, we know the days of rolling in and showering are right around the bend. Toilet height? Support bars? Shower seat? Adjustable height shower head with removable spray option? All things we are in the process of deciding. Some are easy. Others cause some head scratching.

The current major decision we are making is our basement accessibility. With our initial home plan, we thought we might just go with a slab home without a basement. Why add other floor that Roa would need assistance getting to? Yet the cost with a basement vs. without was quite similar. Who would want to pass up the option of extra storage, office space, and play space a basement can bring? So now we are deciding on the best method for Roa to access the basement? Elevator, chair lift, platform lift? Cost, necessity, space configuration? It is overwhelming. Thankfully, we are working with a builder who has experience with barrier-free builds. TC Homes has worked in the past with the Robinhood Corporation. The Robinhood Corporation has a “national VA contract as well as contracts with other major insurance companies and they work with Medical Assistance waiver programs”. We spoke with one of their representatives and was pleased by his knowledge and helpful perspective in this decision. He knew pricing for the different options and can work directly with our builder to integrate our choice into our building plan. He also will help guide us through the maze of financial funding with Medical Assistance.

One additional special needs component that we may add to our plan for Roa’s daily care needs in the future is a SureHands lift system that the Robinhood Corporation specializes in. We are unsure of Roa’s future ability to move from his bedroom to his bathroom, yet by working this track system into our ceiling and door frame, we can be prepared for extra support.

This building process is quite the adventure. Fears of the future, questions about funding, and trying to find some enjoyment in the process is a balancing act. Yet with the a positive attitude, deep breathing, and experienced support sytems like The Robinhood Corporation and TC Homes, we will make it through.

Yet still,…. I secretly hope for that crystal ball….


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