I'll use my current home, the house I'm moving to and our future home as examples.
My current home- when I came home from the rehab hospital, I had a few aids that I didn't have before like a portable toilet, bath chair, a hemi walker, and a wheelchair. That's just some very basic equipment. My house was built in 1959. It was only partially accessible before we bought it. I was technically disabled by my spine injury and bionic joints prior to its purchase. I knew my limitations like a flight of steps. Yes, I could climb stairs, but at times it was a scary proposition. The idea of climbing them several times a day made it a hardship issue. So a single story house was searched for and found. The house is not without steps though. There are two small steps and a door jamb to get into the front door. There was also a six-inch step down into the back room we slated as my office. This wasn't a deal breaker at the time. Of course, only the front and back doors were 36" wide.
Jump ahead almost seventeen years. My husband's medical condition worsens to where he cannot walk and I have a stroke. Those little steps posed a problem and ramps had to be built. My lower kitchen cabinets become impossible to see and reach inside. The top shelves in my upper cabinets also become inaccessible because I have to step up on a stool to reach them. Sliding and drop down baskets had to be installed to make them usable and handicapped friendly. In fact, my house was going through an expansion/renovation at the time of my stroke was a good thing. Although most of the money saving DIY projects had to be outsourced because I was physically unable to do them. Insulation and dry wall hanging are best left to someone with good balance and two hands. Especially ceilings. :o Not that I didn't think about it.
One of our biggest problems was door widths and wheelchair access. I can't tell you how many bruised and bloody knuckles my husband and I endured before we could replace the interior doors with their 36" counterparts. I was lucky enough to have a 3 1/2 foot hallway with an end by the back bedrooms wide enough to turn around a wheelchair in.
The biggest hurdle was the necessary room. You know the room I'm talking about...the bathroom. The portable commode made easy work of raising the toilet seat to a more manageable height. A pain to clean because it's plastic. Nice arms to make getting up and down, or even help balance you while standing. The bath chair fit inside the cast iron tub because I opted for the one without the transfer bench attachment. Both of my bathrooms have the standard 1950s tub/shower, a commode, and single sink. With just enough room to turn around in. A 5x7 piece of bath carpet fits perfectly with
I finally finished the journey to make my old, ranch style home handicap accessible. So what do I do?
The layout is just a concept right now. Definitely a lot more windows for natural light. A stucco finish on the outside and you'd never know it was shipping containers to begin with. Yes, it will be off the grid too with solar power and a wood stove for heat and cooking. A gray waste water recycling system underneath the house will water the fruit and nut orchard on the back side of the house. The metal garage will stay where it is and a sister out building will be "The Warren" will house the rabbitry. Compacted gravel walkways will provide sure footing for me. The chicken coop is behind the metal garage. In front of the rabbitry will be my raised beds for planting. Ten organic planting, elevated raised beds are being built out of used pallets as I type. We negotiated a labor cost cutting barter of free meals while on the job for the construction crews for the clearing and leveling some of the land. It cut our costs by 50%.
Mel asked me where we will live once the trailer is gone and before the new house is livable last week during one of our brain-storming sessions. My answer...The Warren, of course. I mean it will be a 12x20 climate controlled space. Rabbits don't take up that much space.
So what can one partially paralyzed, spastic, post stroke woman do? Anything she darn well wants to! More on this as we make positive progress on fulfilling our dream/goal of self sufficiency. We will be starting another website, blog and YouTube channel to document it all too. So stay tuned. Four weeks and counting down until blast off.
Nothing is impossible.