Open your doors to the disabled and let the good times roll
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A change of scenery, new experiences, new people – vacations relieve the stress of everyday living and energize the spirit. We all need them occasionally, but none more so than the disabled.
If you are a vacation home exchanger who welcomes disabled people – including the elderly -- with accommodations and amenities suited to their special needs, you own a special place in their hearts. And you know what it does for yours.
By all means highlight your accessibility features in your property listing. Update your listing if necessary by revisiting the tick options and checking “Disabled friendly.” If you have a lift in your home, there is a new tick option for that.
There is a growing demand, stoked by aging baby-boomers, for homes that are wheelchair or walker accessible. If you’ve thought about modifying your home, perhaps for your own Golden Years, be assured it’s a worthwhile investment that will enhance your property’s value in addition to serving you well. And, of course, it will open new possibilities as a home exchanger.
Assess your accessibility. If your house is single story with no stairs, has enough room for a wheelchair to get through the doors, roll down the halls and negotiate turns in the bathroom, you may only need relatively minor modifications or renovations.
On the other hand, if your house is two stories tall, has stairs inside and out, and no bedroom or full bath on the main floor, you’d better call a good contractor. Or at least install an entrance ramp and an inside lift.
Easy access, convenience and safety are the bathroom considerations and may require the greatest remodeling. The shower should be walk-in with a seat and no doors. Tubs should be walk-in as well, also with a seat. Both need safety bars, grips and non-slip floors. Wheelchair-high toilets make for easy transfer on and off, along with handles and grab bars within easy reach. And a low sink that a wheelchair can roll under is also a helpful feature.
Adapting kitchens to allow someone in a wheelchair to operate the stove, prepare food at the counter, or reach dishes in the cabinet can also be an expensive proposition. But unless you plan to include all the wheelchair aids necessary for independent living, you could minimize changes here; realistically expecting that anyone who is wheelchair bound will be traveling with relatives, friends or caregivers who can at least handle the kitchen duties.
This IVHE property on the
Caribbean is a good example of a
house that people with disabilities, and their traveling companions, will love. It may not have all the aids for complete independent living, but it can add immensely to the vacation pleasure of everyone in the party -- http://www.ivhe.com/properties/home-exchange/listing/0792 island
If you are a physically-challenged person, or have hosted people with special needs, share some of your vacation experiences with us, particularly regarding housing accommodations, in the comments section of this blog.
If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange, find out more about us at www.ivhe.com. especially if you have a vacation home equipped for the disabled traveler.
Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima