Hiring a Disability Planner - What to Expect
The design a conventional home often doesn’t work for people with disabilities or special needs. This can be frustrating and discouraging. Everyone deserves a home where they feel safe and comfortable.
Disability planners are experts in identifying modifications that can be made to improve your quality of life at home. Many can also coordinate and schedule any improvements that require a professional installer or contractor.
Whether you’re recently injured or moving to a new home, a disability planner can take the confusion and hassle out of making your home comfortable.
What Does a Disability Home Planner Do?
The first time you meet with a disability planner, he or she will sit down with you to discuss what’s not working in the home. Are the countertops too high? Are the doorways too narrow? This is an important part of the process because the planner needs to understand what is causing you the most difficulty in daily life.
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Next, the planner will walk through the home to identify safety hazards, areas that can be modified or improved, and so on. In this step, the planner is likely to point out problems you hadn’t thought of. You don’t have to change everything the person points out - the decision is ultimately up to you - but it’s a good idea to listen.
After the visit, most disability planners will put together a written report identifying all potential modifications and improvements. Some will be simple jobs, such as installing grab bars. Others, such as lower countertops or widening doors, will likely require a professional. You can choose to hire outside an contractor to handle these tasks, or, in some cases, you can hire the planner to arrange that.
There are also construction firms who specialize in disability modifications, and many of those companies will do the planning for free. If you’d rather work with just one company, that’s an option to consider.
How Much Do Disability Planners Charge?
Rates vary from one service to another. Some planners charge by the hour and others charge a flat fee. In the end, the price you pay for the planner will be a small percentage of the cost of overall improvements, which can reach many tens of thousands.
Keep in mind, though, that there are many options to lower the overall costs. Many communities have access to funding through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. You can apply for this funding through your city or town to reduce or even eliminate the cost of modifications. You’ll also want to talk to local nonprofits that serve people with disabilities to find out what resources are available.