Most houses and apartments were not built for people with disabilities. Many homes have steps at the front entrance that make it difficult for someone who has trouble walking to get in. Similarly, round door knobs can make it difficult to come and go freely for a person who can’t grab and turn them. These are just some examples, your needs may be different.
Feeling frustrated, unsafe, or dependent on others in your home can affect your whole life. Think about how much energy it takes you to get ready for your day. If bathing and dressing are exhausting, it may be because your home environment doesn’t suit your needs.For example, do certain rooms in your home (such as your kitchen) make you feel frustrated or unsafe? Are there problems in your home that make living difficult?
If you know that you want to work on your home’s usability but are unsure where to start take this quick quiz. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions! Rather, the results will help you pin point where you may have home usability problems. Your answers may help you identify your needs and make choices.
Here is a version of these questions that is screen reader accessible.
Resources to help identify home usability problems
- AARP Home Fit guide is a comprehensive guide to ensuring a usable home! There are worksheets, checklists, videos and more. You can also access the guide in multiple languages.
- Home Safety Self Assessment Tool (HSSAT), a tool developed by occupational therapists at the University of Buffalo.
- If you aren’t already working with a Center for Independent Living now is a great time to reach out! An independent living specialist at the CIL in your community can help connect you with other resources to support your home usability needs.
- State Assistive Technology programs also have specialist that can help you identify what types of equipment you may need and can often help you purchase or rent what you need.
- Occupational and Physical therapists: Occupational and Physical therapists (OT/PTs) spend a lot of time working with people within their homes. Their insight could be valuable for providing options for solving home usability problems. Check with your insurance or talk to your doctor to see if you are covered for a home assessment.