Financial assistance for making your home wheelchair-accessible

Stephanie Jackson | Finances, Safety, Housing Options, Prevention, Aging in Place, | December 01, 2016

Many seniors want to live their lives as independently as possible, and home modifications are an excellent way to help them do just that. If you need financial assistance for home modifications to make your house wheelchair-accessible, there are several resources that may be able to help you get started.

Common home modifications
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are a few common alterations that many people seek out once they rely on a wheelchair for day-to-day activities. Some of these may include:

  • Push-button access to doors that replace traditional door handles.
  • A walk-in shower.
  • Handrail installation on staircases, both outdoors and indoors.
  • Altering kitchen counters so that they are lower and easier to reach.
  • Wheelchair ramps that help you get inside and outside more easily.

Whether you are seeking resources for one or all of these alterations, it's important to speak first with your physical or occupational therapist to see what might work best for you and your home.

 

There are several resources that can help you make your home wheelchair-accessible.

There are several resources that can help you make your home wheelchair-accessible.

Get educated about home modifications
Getting yourself informed about making your home wheelchair-accessible is the first step, and there are plenty of resources and organizations that can help. The HHS also explained that repairs and alterations can cost seniors anywhere from $150 to $2,000, depending on the type of renovation you are seeking. A contractor will be the best person to explain to you what is needed in your home, how much it will cost and what kinds of reduced rates or fees might apply.

However, it's important to know that these modifications and their respective expenses are provided by the Older Americans Act, and then dispensed through the Area Agencies on Aging, according to the HHS. You can find out where your local AAA chapter is by visiting the Alzheimer's Association's Community Resource Finder (www.communityresourcefinder.org)  and then clicking on the "Community Services" tab.

Resources and organizations
In addition to your local AAA, there are several other resources and organizations that might be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to financial assistance. The HHS recommends Rebuilding Together, Inc., which operates with local affiliates and volunteers to help low-income seniors find the resources they need. You might also be able to find rebates with the U.S. Department of Energy's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, though those discounts may vary state by state.

It's also worthwhile to contact organizations in your area, as many cities and towns offer grant funds through community development centers and local departments. Local banks and lenders might advise you to look into home equity conversion mortgages or reverse mortgages to cover additional costs for renovations as well.

If you're a senior looking to make your home wheelchair-accessible, there are many ways you can get the assistance you need, both from private and public sources. Be sure to ask family and friends about their own experiences with these types of renovations as well so that you gain more insight into the right contractors to hire for this important task.