Guide to Moving for the Disabled
According the Centers for Disease Control, in the U.S., 47.5 million adults report having a disability. If you have a disability and are planning to join the millions of Americans who move each year, you may benefit from moving advice that addresses your specific needs.
Following is a resource guide created for people with disabilities and designed to provide moving advice that touches on their unique needs when changing residences.
Anyone who has moved knows that it is a process that begins long before the moving truck rolls up. The following tips and resources provide advice on what to do before your move.
Check for moving cost discounts. Moving costs can add up fast. As this article notes, there are organizations and programs that offer help with moving expenses to people with disabilities. The article lists and provides information on some of those options.
Assess your new home.
Is it adaptable? In its "Easy Access Housing for Easier Living" brochure, Easter Seals Disability Services offers a checklist you can use to determine if your home is adaptable. For example, is it located on a flat site? Are the hallways at least 42" wide? Can a wheelchair move freely in the kitchen?
Locate healthcare services in the new area. As this list of tips suggests, one thing you'll want to scope out are the locations of hospitals, urgent care centers, doctors' offices and other medical facilities you may need. The article also recommends creating a list of essential emergency contacts.
Refill prescriptions. This moving checklist provides great tips on the steps you should take as you get closer to your move. About two weeks prior to your move, it suggests getting any prescriptions filled that you may need over the next couple of weeks so that you don't risk running out of needed medications while you're in the midst of your move.
Check on possible changes with your disability benefits. As this article explains, because Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI are both federal programs, you shouldn't see any disruption in benefits even if you move to a different state. However, it notes that applying for state supplemental benefits may be necessary.
Transfer your utilities. As this article from eHow.com notes, it's important to take the necessary steps for switching over your utilities before your move. It provides a step-by-step process for doing so that takes you through making a list of your utilities, calling your old and new utility companies, and reading your meters before you leave your old residence.
When moving, packing and unpacking can be time-consuming and burdensome. Below are a few tips to make these tasks a little easier during your move:
De-clutter before you pack. This article from U.S. News & World Report provides great tips for de-cluttering before your move. To make what can be an overwhelming process easier, it suggests focusing on one small area at a time, such as a kitchen cabinet or a bedroom closet.
Pack an overnight bag. This article explains the importance of packing an overnight bag and an essentials box before your big move. It recommends packing any items you'll need immediately when you get to your new home, including any medicines or other special equipment.
Create a "smooth move" packing system. This article provides tips on how to pack up your home in an organized way. It suggests numbering your boxes by room and keeping a list of what items are in each numbered box. This way when you arrive at your new home you'll know exactly where everything is and where it should go.
Keep boxes small. As this article from About Home on moving boxes notes, it's best to go for small moving boxes and to pack them so that they weigh 50 pounds or less. As the article points out, "Even if you've hired movers, remember that you may have to move the boxes yourself, from one room to another."
Organize as you unpack. Written by a person with a disability, this article provides home organizing tips for people with disabilities. It provides life hack tips such has changing the side on which the refrigerator door opens and includes advice for the kitchen, the bathroom, and the bedroom.
Use wardrobe boxes for clothes. In this piece, GoodHousekeeping.com provides several great packing tips. For example, to make moving your clothes easier, use wardrobe boxes. Not only will this keep them wrinkle-free, but it will also save you time and energy once you're in your new home because you won't have to re-hang all of your clothes.
What to Do on Moving Day
Once you've de-cluttered and packed, it's time for moving day. The following tips and resources will help you make your moving day run smoothly.
Ask for help. Don't be too shy to enlist the help of friends and family when moving. ApartmentTherapy.com provides a great list of tips on how best to go about asking for help. One of its tips suggests getting help "potluck style." In other words, make a list of the tasks you'll need help with and ask those willing to take them on to sign up for a task.
Make sure utilities are on in your new home. As this article suggests, when you arrive at your new home, take some time to go through the house to make sure your light switches and faucets are working, that your hot water is on, and all toilets are working properly.
Check for dangerous areas. As this article recommends, it's a good idea to go over the area to make sure there aren't any hazards than can cause you trouble on the day of your move or after you're settled in. Look for dangers like an uneven sidewalk or an outdoor surface that might become slippery when wet.
Avoid injury. If you plan to assist in the moving process, be sure to take precautions so that you don't injure yourself lifting boxes or other items. This article provides a list of questions to ask yourself before lifting a box. For example, "Is it easy to grip this load?" and "Is it easy to reach this load?" It also provides specific tips on how to avoid a back injury.
Minimize stress. Many disabilities, such as heart problems, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and anxiety, can be worsened by stress. This article from Brick Undergound provides tips on how to keep your moving day as stress-free as possible. For example, it suggests having all boxes packed before moving day, fully charging all of your electronics, taking two days for your move instead of cramming it all into one, and more.
Get organized. It's important that you're able to move around freely and easily in your new home and that you have easy access to everything you need. This article provides tips on how you can unpack in an organized way. For example, it suggests unpacking essential items such as toiletries and a change of clothes first, and then moving on to organizing the kitchen the way you want it.
For College Students - Tips For Getting Settled In Your New Space
According to the National Center for Education Statistics "Students with Disabilities at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions," 88 percent of colleges and universities enroll students with disabilities, and the organization also reports that 11 percent of college students say they have a disability. If you're a college student with a disability, the following tips provide advice on how to make your move easier.
Know the ADA guidelines for dormitories. From the U.S. Department of Justice, this "Guidance on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design" guide includes information about the design standards for dormitories as designated by the ADA.
Find out if your university will allow your service animal to live with you. For many people with disabilities, service animals play an essential role in their lives. This article provides explanation and commentary on the federal requirements regarding when service animals are allowed in college residence halls.
Contact your school's Office of Disability Services. Public universities offer an Office of Disability Services. They're sometimes also called Services for Students with Disabilities. This article recommends staying in contact with your school's Office of Disability Services. They'll be able to assist you with your ongoing needs.
Figure out how you will get to and from campus from your new residence. As this Students' FAQ from the Association on Higher Education and Disability notes, campus transportation must be accessible to people with disabilities, but schools are not required to provide people with disabilities with transportation outside their transportation system's designated routes. If campus transportation does not serve your area, the FAQ recommends checking with your school's Office for Disabled Student Services to find out what, if any, alternative is possible.
Get help getting organized. Written for parents of college-age children with special needs, this article explains how parents can make the transition to college easier. It recommends that parents help students get organized as transitioning to small dorm room spaces can be challenging.
Find Local Assistance
It is important for people with disabilities to have access to housing and other essential resources. Below is a list of organizations by city that strive to assist people with disabilities so that they can be active, included members of their communities.
Resource Guide for Special Needs - The Arc advocates for those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. In addition to many other resources, this guide provides local, state and national resources on housing/home modification/accessibility needs.
Per its website, this organization works to "provide education, training and job opportunities to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, improving the lives of individuals, families and communities."
This organization provides Housing, Entrepreneurship and Readiness Training for adults with developmental disabilities.
Created by and for people with disabilities, this organization is a community-based independent living advocacy group.
This organization actively works to inform and connect the deaf and hearing impaired community in Houston.
Check out HHA for information on quality, affordable housing options in the Houston area.
This organization provides a variety of services for children and adults with autism including residential, educational, therapeutic, adult programs, diagnostics and research services.
The Dallas Housing Authority serves low-income families and individuals by providing qualify affordable housing opportunities via assistance programs.
This non-profit provides assistance to visually impaired individuals in the North Texas area.
Per its website, this organization is a "housing information and referral program dedicated to preventing homelessness and improving the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS in Dallas County and seven surrounding Counties."
Per its website, this organization is "north Texas' leading nonprofit dedicated to helping people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and severe emotional problems live healthier lives."
This organization provides Rehabilitation, Education, and Advocacy for Citizens with Handicaps.
Per its website, HANO "manages and oversees several residential communities that offer different types of housing programs designed to meet the housing needs of the residents of the City of New Orleans."
This organization provides assistance to individuals and families affected by mental illness, addictive disorders, or developmental disabilities.
This organization provides several services, including technology training and a visual aid store, for blind and visually impaired individuals.
This organization provides services to people with mental illness, developmental disability, or addictive disorder.
Per its website, this organization advocates for "a fully accessible and integrated community and provides services for individuals with disabilities."
Part of the Tulane University School of Medicine, the Tulane Spine Center provides multidisciplinary medical, therapeutic, and surgical treatment of spine problems.
Per its website, this organization "provides empowerment and assistance to individuals with disabilities."
This organization provides resident support services and places to live for those in need, including people with special physical and mental needs.
This 75-year-old non-profit serves those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have communication disorders.
This organization assists people with developmental disabilities by maintaining residences and a continuum of program services.
This organization provides services to people with cognitive disabilities.
This organization provides education, rehabilitation, and work opportunity programs to people with developmental disabilities.
This organization provides life opportunities through employment services, a community living program, assistive therapy and more, for people with disabilities.
This organization helps connect low-income individuals with safe and affordable housing.
This organization provides rehabilitation to those with a spinal cord injury. It also connects them with housing and home modification resources.
This organization is run by and supports people who are blind or visually impaired in the Puget Sound Region.
This organization connects people with disabilities with needed services, including housing assistance.
This organization provides many services to people with disabilities, including several residential homes.
This organization assists blind or visually impaired adults and children through a variety of programs.
Per its website, this organization is "committed to creating and preserving affordable housing opportunities for families, seniors, and people with disabilities who lack the economic resources to access quality, safe housing in San Diego County."
Per its website, this organization "promotes the full participation of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in all aspects of society."
This organization provides supportive housing to homeless people with mental illness.
This organization serves blind or visually impaired adults.
This organization provides affordable housing units for low- to moderate-income families, seniors, and disabled persons.
This non-profit provides high quality health care services to people with barriers to communication.
This organization works to provide safe and affordable housing to the Denver community.
As it states on its website, this organization's mission is "to create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to participate fully in the community."
This organization provides assistance to people with disabilities who want to become homeowners.
This organization provides affordable housing to low-income families, seniors and people with special needs.
As its mission statement expresses, this organization serves "people with developmental disabilities, recognizing their worth, affirming their ability to contribute, and striving to promote dignity in all relationships."
This nonprofit serves those who are physically or mentally challenged by offering therapeutic horseback riding and other services.
A national nonprofit with an office in Santa Fe, per this organization's website it "provides housing, support services and advocacy assistance to help empower people with disabilities."
According to its website, this organization "down payment and closing cost assistance to low-income families in which at least one family member has an ADA disability."
This library was established to serve those who are blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, or reading disabled. In addition to the library located in Santa Fe, there are several other depository libraries located throughout the state.
This website helps connect Santa Fe residents with special needs with affordably priced rental housing.
This organization serves and empowers people with cognitive disabilities.
This organization provides affordable housing for in-need Fort Collins residents, including people with disabilities.
Per its website, this organization's mission is to "equitably meet the evolving needs of people affected by HIV through prevention, care and advocacy across Colorado."
This organization provides transportation for people with disabilities and the elderly.
This website provides information and counseling resources to people age 60 and older and people age 18 and older with a disability.
This organization provides an independent living program, peer support, advocacy and other resources to people with disabilities.
This organization assists men and women with mental illnesses, helping them "live, work, learn and socialize.".
Established in 1963, this organization provides services designed to incorporate people with developmental, cognitive and physical challenges into the fabric of their communities.
Among other services, this organization provides mental health services and disability & employment services to people with disabilities.