Moving is an incredibly difficult event in itself for anyone, sorting through and packing up your belongings, saying goodbye to friends, and hiring a moving company takes time and energy and can be stressful. But it’s even more taxing if you or someone who you are moving has a disability. When moving with a disability, you have to approach the move with a deeper, broader perspective of what the move is going to take and the need to tap into various resources to make the move as smooth and easy as possible.
People with disabilities take pride and importance in their independence, but moving into a new home can be overwhelming and an intimidating experience for them. Moving house is a task in which everyone generally requires help, whether they are physically or mentally challenged or not.
Of course there are numerous methods to help make things easier. Some involve preparing the new home to accommodate the person’s disabilities. Understand that changing homes can be stressful for anyone, but particularly for those with special needs. As always it is in anyone’s best interests to listen, be supportive and focus on the positive aspects of the move and be there for the person or family going through the process.
Disabled people have the goal of staying or becoming more independent after moving.
Figuring things out like where you will live, who will help you pack and the associated costs are stressful factors for anyone considering moving. For disabled people, moving can be a challenging experience that includes finding sources for financial assistance, taking care of accessibility issues and making sure that specialised health services are available in the new location.
That’s why in this blog post as professional movers, packers and organisers we’ve rounded up our best tips for making a smooth move when you are temporarily or permanently disabled. This guide will cover the essential aspects when assisting persons with disabilities move house and ensure to make the moving process both easier and less stressful for all those taking part.
The things you can do Before the Move.
1. Make a plan
The best way to avoid mishaps when moving is to give yourself plenty of time and plan everything in advance. Mooving Matters recommends those with disabities meet several times with the person that’s helping them to go over all details big and small, pre and post move. The interaction will bring up aspects of the move that you both may have forgotten.
In any move it’s a great idea to create a “moving binder”. This will contain all those important documents, phone numbers and anything else you might need on the way or upon arriving at your new residence.
2. Make a Pre-Move Checklist
Organisation in any move is key and being organized is even more critical if you have a disability. Make sure that you give yourself at least a month to a few weeks before you move and to flesh out a concise pre-move checklist to ensure all is covered.
Write down all of the things you need to accomplish before you start packing or moving anything. This can include a declutter of your existing home by getting rid of old and unused items and making sure that you clean your existing residence before moving into your new one.
We also recommend making a timeline of when you’re going to pack certain things or when you require assistance to have someone do this for you. This is the outline and order of when and how you are going to organise everything for your move, so you don’t pack something up then discover that you require access to it before your move.
3. Finances & Applying for Financial Assistance
As with any relocation it is important to talk about financial issues. This includes any monetary assistance that may be available.
As people living with disability may require more help during a move, investigate government and community organisations that can assist with the financial aspects of moving expenses such as coordinating reliable movers and support in packing and unpacking. Before you approach them with a request, be sure you list out exactly what you need assistance for: hiring movers, cleaners, or adding accessibility adaptations to your new home.
Preparing your home to accommodate a person who has special needs or has disability can mean having additional expenses. Learn about any community or government resources that will be able to help when it comes adding special installations to help persons with disabilities.
If you purchase a property that will need renovations to accommodate its occupants safely and comfortably, be sure your home-buying budget accounts for those costs. Similarly, you might want to budget for hiring help with packing, unpacking, and moving day.
4. House-Hunting & Accessibility Considerations
The first thing to do is to check whether the new location already has all the accessibility that you need. Certain disabilities make it necessary for you to have certain accommodations wherever you live. You will need to fully access the space to determine whether or not modifications will need to be made. For example; Are the doorways wide enough? Are the counters at a reachable height? Are all the rooms in the house accessible to you?
If you or someone else in your household is dealing with a disability, such accessible adaptions to a home may include:
- At least one step-free entrance to the home.
- Cabinets and shelves within easy reach.
- At least one kitchen work surface that can be used while seated.
- Hallways and doorways that are wide enough to accommodate mobility aids.
- A shower without a step-over barrier.
- Flooring that fits your family’s mobility needs.
- A bedroom, full bathroom, and kitchen on the ground floor if climbing stairs is a challenge.
If you are renting, discuss your needs with your potential landlord to be sure that whatever modifications are needed are ok with him or her — or ideally, that they will help you to prepare the apartment for move-in day.
Make sure all of that work is completed before time to move.
5. Checking for Safety Hazards
As you’re scanning your new home for accessibility, scope-out potential hazards in your new home. Make sure that you or a trusted helper take a good look at your new home and the area around it for potential hazards, including:
- Ledges and stairs
- Surfaces that may be slippery when wet
- Low-hanging ceilings or doorways
- Other obstacles that may be a threat to your health or safety
6. Clear out & clean
Moving to a new home shouldn’t be a negative experience but a great time to cull and to reorganise your life and get rid of stuff you neither need nor use any more. Those with disabilities should get help to go through his or her possessions. Have some one assist you in making difficult decision to part with things that you no longer need and help preserve the things that are absolutely sentimental. You find you may require a trip to drop things off at the local charity store or have a garage sale or post adds online of things you may want to sell.
7. Address & Review your Utility services
Its essentials you make sure that all utility services are transferred over and operating properly before the move. This is especially critical if the person is required to use medical equipment that absolutely needs functioning utility services. Phone and Internet services are as essential to the disabled as electricity, water and gas.
8. Make sure medical needs are covered – Find Health care services near your new home
Make a list of the locations and phone numbers of the nearest emergency care facilities, primary care physicians, and other specialists that you use regularly. Post that list in a prominent place in your new home, right alongside a list of personal emergency contacts. Also ensure the following is organised as soon as possible:
- Gather all of the person’s medical records and keep them separate from everything else being moved and easily accessible.
- Locate the nearest emergency and heath care services in the area, such as hospitals. Create a readily accessible list of essential contacts. If the disabled person is retaining a doctor that may not be in the area, plan how to get him or her back and forth.
- Notify the person’s doctors and any support specialists of when and where their patient is moving. If the disabled person receives in-home care, make sure that all arrangements are made so that the service will be uninterrupted.
- Locate a nearby pharmacy to fill prescriptions and have that information transferred there.
- It is very important for a disabled person to have their medical records in a safe and easily reachable place. If possible, they should keep all the records with them during the move so you’re sure that they don’t get misplaced. And in case the unthinkable happens and they need medical care in a new place.
- If the person with disability’s doctor or specialist is far from your new home, be sure to inform anyone involved in their care and also make a plan on how to go about their regular appointments.
- If you have specific health needs, making a move can impact the care you receive. Your physicians, pharmacists and caregivers should be among the first to know about your move. Hopefully they can continue to provide services, but if not they can make recommendations and help you find a suitable health care provider in your new city. It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the locations of medical facilities in case care is needed.
9. Hire a reputable moving company & Organise an unpack service
When deciding to hire a moving company, please do your due diligence first. There are moving companies who will charge a lot of hidden fees. There are also scammers who will ask for deposits over the phone and never show up. Hire local and do your best to find out everything you can about them before agreeing to anything.
It is best to either check the reviews or inquire specifically whether the company has experience with moving people with disabilities. It would be extremely helpful to hire a moving company with movers who have experience with people with disabilities and understand how to handle any specialist medical equipment they might have. Aside from being sensitive to their needs, they could also help out in the whole moving process in general. If you would like them to help you pack and unpack as well, be sure they offer that service at a reasonable rate and time frame that works for you. Mooving Matter a full-service moving company will be able to help you coordinate movers, any packing and upacking tasks as well as many other details of your move including home organisation and styling!
The best moving companies will help you unpack, especially if they have experience with moving people with disabilities. Mooving Matters professional home organisers and movers and packers in Sydney will work with you to ensure your belongings are organised in a way that makes sense and makes settling in as easy and straightforward as possible for yourself and your family. We make sure that before we leave, you take one last look at your new home to see if you need any thing re arranged to your liking.
10. Get to know your neighbours & Centres for Independent Living
Introduce yourself to your future neighbours and learn about your new local neighbourhood. You might be able to gather useful information such as disability assistance programs. There may also be valuable services or organisations near your home which would be very useful for people with disabilities.
Getting the perspective of other disabled people in the new community you will be relocating to can be very useful. Centres for Independent Living will be able to provide such counselling and assistance. More importantly, they will provide you with the chance to speak with disabled people in the area you will be relocating to and to check with them about available services and assistance.
11. Pack an essential 2-3 day bag or box
Completely unpacking your new home might take some time, so put together an overnight bag with your essentials including medication, necessary charging cords for wheelchairs or other equipment, and comfortable clothing for the night as well as the next day. Consider what things you’ll need to keep you most comfortable on the journey, too.
Moving is a long arduous process, and it isn’t always perfect. It can be easy to misplace a box here and there along the way, making it really hard to find what you’re looking for. With this in mind, make sure that you don’t get caught with all of your clothing boxes buried at the bottom of the pile, and be sure to pack a bag with 2-3 days of clothes and toiletry supplies in it. Make sure that you always keep any medications or medical devices that are pertinent to your disability within arm’s reach while the moving process is going on.
It is usually best if each family member packs one for themselves, but you can also choose to let everyone pile their items into one. The important thing is that it is easily accessible and can be unpacked first.
Helping people with disabilities should not be seen as a dreaded chore. There are numerous ways to make the whole moving event go smoothly and seamlessly. As long as you prepare ahead as outlined in this article and think things through thoughtfully, you’ll be able to pull off moving to your new home successfully.
Always be mindful of how you assist the person with disability or those who have special needs. They may need a lot of help and support, however they also like to be able to be independent and help themselves out, they are the expert on what they need. If you are helping someone with a disability during the move process help enrich their lives by making sure that you keep them positive and help them continue to be independently functioning individuals.
If you need special assistance to help organising your move call on Mooving Matters your team of trusted and caring Professional home Organisers and packing services Sydney . To arrange a complementary on-site inspection of your property by Mooving Matters, your home organiser Sydney or to simply discuss our ‘Ultimate full service packing + moving’ experience call (02) 93375333 or visit us at moovingmatters.com.au.