your daughter was doing well with remote learning and when the school announced transition to a hybrid model, one that included two days a week in person and three days remote, she opted to stay fully remote. And why not? She can roll out of bed a few minutes before class starts and enjoy a full breakfast which is frequently created by your husband who is also working from home. Today was a bacon-tomato omelette, bagel, and side of fruit.
Life is good for her.
And when you factor in the times when she wakes up earlier than necessary and she is the one making her own breakfast and enough for her parents as well. That means life is good for you too.
Sharing the use of her newly found extra time, your daughter has also spent many late afternoons, evenings, and weekends learning some different kinds of skills. As the pandemic kept your family at home more often it also made you even more aware of the needs of your neighbors. One neighbor in particular really needed help. A recent upgrade to one of the newer high performance wheelchairs meant that her home needed some modifications. Some of the changes were major and would require a professional contractor, but there were several projects that your husband wanted to help with. With his unlikely helper of a senior in high school daughter, the two of them have installed a side guard for wheelchairs, a one step ramp, and have lowered a shelf in the master bathroom to create spaces that allows your neighbor to be more self-reliant.
Modifying Spaces Allows Many Aging Home Owners to Stay in Their Own Space
Whether it is the installation of a single side guard for wheelchairs or a complete reconstruction of a front porch to accommodate a wheelchair, there are many ways that homes can be modified to increase accessibility. And while there are certainly times when a move to a retirement home is the only, or the best, option, there are also many times when staying at home is the better choice. Fortunately, there are now a number of products and services that can make the necessary home modifications easier to achieve.
Consider this list of facts and figures about the many times when extra considerations must be made to allow those with limited mobility a richer and fuller life:
- There are 2 million new wheelchair users in the U.S. every year, and many of them require the some very specific requirements to the homes where they live..
- Nearly 98% of public transportation buses are appropriately equipped to accommodate people in wheelchairs, but this is because of federal requirements. The same is true of the majority of public spaces. In individual homes, however, there are no specific regulations. Instead, home owners or hired contractors must see that a side guard for wheelchairs and other modifications are added.
- In the U.S. alone, as many as 3.6 million people over the age of 15 use a wheelchair.
- Separate from those who use a wheelchair, another 11.6 million people use canes, walkers, or crutches. Every one of these mobility devices require at least some kinds of modifications to create the safest home environment.
- Between the years of 2010 and 2016, the U.S. civilian population showed an increase from 11.9% to 12.8% in the number of people with disabilities. The addition of a side guard for wheelchairs and other modifications are much needed and very common. Some of the fixes are easy, others are not.
When you first realized last spring that remote learning was going to play an important role in the end of your daughter’s high school career you were determined to make the most of the time you would be spending together. What you did not realize, however, was that in addition to learning more about the academic areas she was studying she would also increasing her skills in the kitchen. The latest bonus of learning how to work with home improvement tools and supplies, while at the same time helping a neighbor, has been the biggest surprise. It is a surprise, however, that has definitely served as an added perk of this unique time of the pandemic.