A Journey with Love and Laughter

Read about our family as we journey through life as a family, with siblings, school and spina bifida, and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Our House, Nick's Home

This has been something on my mind for a while.

This is Our home, our Family home. Nick's home
(This picture was taken when it was all shiny and new)

There are accessibility challenges with our home. What I want is a way to get Nick into the house.

The major issue is the steps. There are 4 steps (average of 7" per step = 28" height).
Guidelines mean that if we were to put in a ramp, it would have to be 28 feet long. Information can be found under Accessible and Adaptable Housing if you are looking for help. 

In my head I thought that instead of a ramp we could have steps that Nick's walker could be lifted (by him) onto the step. I want Nick and his walker to be able to get into the house, not the wheelchair. 

But the Occupational Therapist is the go-to person. So a house assessment was our step to get information from someone who knows about accessibility. Talking with her, we should be looking at a lift.

If we are looking at a lift (a porch lift) there are other considerations too. We walked through the house and around outside with Serena (Nick's OT) and the medical supply guy.

The first question to ask ourselves was inside or outside?

Considering it is December and the ground is covered in snow. A lift inside the garage may be better. We have a one car garage. We don't now or ever plan on parking a car in the garage. Right now it is full of junk, but we can get rid of most of that stuff for the room.

There are questions about permits and if we even can do it. We don't have a door into the house from the garage. But we can (hopefully) add one. We have a header in the garage in the hallway.
Then there is the issue with clearance in the hallway. For an entryway.
Nick can turn around in the hallway in his walker. But there is limited space

Our house entryway has limited space, but a big closet. Also filled with stuff we can relocate. Which gives us a couple of renovation options. A door from house to garage, a larger entryway (taking out the closet) and a porch lift with a landing just inside the garage.

The porch lift comes with a price, the renovation comes with a separate price. We'd need to talk with a contractor about that. There are some one-time only renovation money we can apply for, or there is yearly money we can apply for.
There are a couple of other permit-related challenges we need to figure out as well.

Then we had another conversation.
Are we trying to fit a square peg into a round hole?
Are we trying to make our house accessible only to realize that we can't? It is a 2 story house. Yes we are working to get him into the house, but what about giving him access to the whole house?
Even our family room is a step down.

I don't know what to think after this meeting. We weren't considering moving anytime soon. Yes I know a bungalow is the perfect solution for us. But we have settled in this neighborhood. This is our home. We don't want to move. This was our first house, everything is where I want it to be, I thought and considered every single paint colour on the walls. Designed the kids room (even if I didn't paint them), everything in our home is from our lives together, as a family.

Or am I being selfish? Not considering Nick's ability to move around his own home.

But Nick is mobile. Yes he needs his walker or canes to move, but he can climb the stairs on his feet if we hold one hand, or on his hands and knees by himself. Will that work in a couple of years. I'm not sure.
Will he be able to move better in a couple of years. I'm not sure.
He moves excellent with is walker, his wheelchair stays outside, his canes are usable for small areas and he has forearm crutches that don't really work for him (yet?).

So the visit and talk of accessibility left me very conflicted. And a little bit close to tears. I just want Nick to be able to get into his home!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I have some advice/Questions for you with my own SB kid.
    1. Have you looked at getting a service dog? This could be helpful on encouraging Nick to use his wheelchair (This is for your other post about the wheelchair)
    2. Maybe you should try leaving a pair of tripod canes near those steps so that he could go down that one step or up the front steps.
    3. Getting those poach lifts are a lot of money and I thought maybe you could make your own. Like a pulley system or something that would be helpful.

    My own kid can only use a wheelchair and finding a house was quite challenging. We ended up getting a two story house (There were no front steps or anything, sorry I can't help with that) and him using the bedroom downstairs. Our daughter and us went upstairs and our son (the SB one) was 4 at the time and had a hard time transitioning. He couldn't get us in the middle of the night or anything but as he got older, it got better!

    Another thing to look at is also the bathroom, making sure its accessible.

    Good Luck!