|Building a Home with a Heart!|
I don’t have a home, but I have a dream. A dream of building a home with a heart. A dream of a special home for my special needs child. The theme of my home would be independence for all….
Bringing up Farheena has taught me many of the life lessons, and one of them is about keeping in mind the needs and requirements of people with limited mobility while building homes. Though our homes look spacious and beautiful, they can be heartless and cruel to people who cannot climb stairs, squat in toilets or walk on uneven or slippery floors. In our enthusiasm to build a beautiful dream home and to give it that special look, we tend to overlook the fact that not all the people who are going to live in this home are athletic and physically active. In fact we are not sure, how long we are going to remain healthy and athletic ourselves. A home should be built keeping in mind the requirements of special needs people and also our own old age which is inevitable if we are lucky.
When I shifted to live in Byndoor, our home had a very narrow step leading to our front door. The stone which worked as the step had loosened up, making it wobbly. We could easily step on it and get to the front door, but Farheena who had trouble walking on even stable ground would spend a lot of time trying to get to our front door. She would step on the stone, but as soon as it shook, she would take a step backward. People would stare and pass comment making it more embarrassing for her. For the few days until the problem was fixed, we had very tough time getting in and out of the home.
The squat toilet was another hurdle in our way.
Had to depend on this for
Farheena as she could not
use the squat toilet
Farheena could not squat and she had a lot of trouble using the toilet. I had to resort to using the children’s potty chair for her, which became tougher with each passing day. Later I had found a better bedside commode for her which was embarrassing for her to use. With my limited finance, I could not renovate my bathroom for her. The list would be unending, because whole of our homes are built without showing any compassion for people with special needs.
Finally, when I saw that my home was hindering my daughter’s development, I decided to move out into a rented house which would not hamper her movements. So 5 years ago I shifted to Bangalore. This is a tiny home, nothing to boast off, but it has allowed my daughter a lot of independence unlike our previous home.
I would love to put my own life experience to use and build a home keeping in mind how life can be made convenient and easy for everyone. The solutions do not take any extra space or high expenditure. They are just simple adjustments you will have to make around your home.
I would love to have a person with the experience, expertise and sensitivity to provide the products, services, and modifications to make my home safer, more accessible, and better-suited to people who are made dependent on others for their everyday needs. I want to break the barriers that prevent people with special needs to live safely, independently and happily in their own homes.
Stairs and steps leading to front door can be scary for
people with limited mobility.
First, avoid building stairs if possible since it can be tough on people in wheel chair. Where they are unavoidable, at least have ramp or a proper banister which would help people who are not steady on their feet in climbing them up. Climbing stairs which have no banisters can be a herculean task for many people.
Next in my list is the doors and door knobs. I would love to have easy to handle, uncomplicated door knobs on my doors. Have you seen some people struggle with the door knobs which can be quite frustrating at times, especially if it is the bathroom doors? I don’t want everyone opening the door to feel as though they are solving a puzzle.
I would love to take care to level up uneven paths leading to the home. Even paths not just make walking easier for people with special needs; it will also prevent accidents and keep them safe. Bathrooms and toilets should be modified to accommodate people who have limited mobility and would allow independence of people with disabilities and the elderly. Seats are a must for showers for those who cannot stand for a long time. Hand held showers, grab bars and non-slip surfaces will allow everyone to enjoy their shower all alone, without someone there to help them. Only people who have been dependent on others can tell you what a difference this makes to be in a toilet or bathroom all by themselves.
|Not everyone can stand under the shower|
This is great for everyone to enjoy their bath
Installing grab bars is no big deal, It makes a lot of difference to people with special needs.
Assistive technology when building your homes can put the smile on the face of the special needs person.
Kitchens are very important place in homes, because they can lead to serious accidents if not built properly. Inductions stoves are best for people with special needs to handle. Have a spacious kitchen so that there is room for person to sit on chair or drag in their wheel chair there.
A bedroom with attached toilet and bathroom is a blessing for people with limited mobility. Arrange for simple closets and cupboards where they can store things easily. The bedroom should have comfortable bed where you can rest peacefully.
Too high or too low bed may not be tough for those without mobility problem to get on or off, but it can be bothersome for those who have a challenge. I would ensure that my bed is of perfect size and height. I will would never want anyone to stumble in dark towards the bed, hence the light switch would be located right beside the bed.
My color choice will be in shades of blue. Every color has a personality like us humans. It is said that the color blue possesses the quality of honesty, trust and loyalty. The color is quite and does not show off, or attract undue attention. It is always majestically reserved, but it is sincere at the same time. Color blue does not like violence, conflicts or confrontations, but it is also a color with a mind of its own. It promotes mental and emotional relaxation and stability. I would be looking for these qualities in my home, both in the walls and people dwelling in it.
Ocean and sky would be good themes to choose from, as I have already decided on color blue. I would also love to have rounded off corners, rather than sharp edges. I love the smooth flow of curves, though it could be a bit harsh of space. Enough natural light is another aspect I would give special attention to.
I wish to build a home that is not just beautiful but also is kind and helpful to everyone.