By Emily Love, Guest Blogger
Moving is a physical and mental challenge for everyone. Sorting through and packing up your possessions, saying goodbye to friends and family, and searching for the right moving company takes a lot of time and energy. But for people living with disabilities, this challenge takes on a whole new meaning. The process itself doesn’t change, but you probably need to start planning a bit sooner in order to have everything under control. Everything is manageable when you organize and plan it well. Below are some relocation tips for people with disabilities that will help your move go smoothly and be stress-free.
Assess your new home
Before you move into your new home, you need find out what modifications might be needed to make it accessible. For example, if you are a wheelchair user, doorways should be large enough to pass through. And if you don’t have full grip strength, the door should be easy to open. Levers are a great alternative to doorknobs. Make a list of steps to an accessible home and make sure you check all the boxes. Some non-profits and local agencies offer assistance to refit a home. A quick web search for your local area or a call to social services office and City Hall can get you the assistance you need.
Refill prescriptions & double check benefits
About two weeks before your move, you should
- refill any prescriptions that you may need over the next couple of weeks.
- look into getting a new physician before you move.
- check on possible changes with your disability benefits.
Luckily, because Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI are both federal programs, you shouldn’t see any disruption in benefits even if you move to a different state. However, you may need to apply for supplemental benefits at the state you are moving to.
Reduce stress and take good care of yourself
Everyone gets stressed during a move, but you should try to reduce your stress level as much as possible. The best way to do so is to be well prepared. If possible, you should consider taking two days for your move instead of cramming it all into one. If you are not using a moving company, you should have all boxes packed before moving day and charge all of your electronics fully.
It’s a good idea to have a well packed essentials box that will stay with you throughout the move. You don’t want to go through your moving boxes to find your toothbrush, right? For this reason, remember to pack everything you may need for the last night in your old place and first night and morning in your new home. You will need to make your own list of essentials, but below are some suggestions to get you started:
- Pajamas, towel and slippers
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Medicines, if needed
- Kettle and coffee or tea
- Phone charger
Leave the packing to professionals
A DIY move is always risky and is a lot to take on. If you want to assist in the moving process, you’ll need to ask for the help of friends and family. Make a list of the tasks you’ll need help with and ask them to sign up for a task. And remember to be careful not to injure yourself lifting boxes or other items.
Using professional movers may be the safer solution for people with disabilities. Professional movers are familiar with all the regulations, and they are trained to help you in the best way possible. This is especially important for long distance moves. For example, if you decide to move
out of Chicago to some other city, or even a state, you will need someone to organize it properly.
Packing is the most time-consuming part of moving and it requires a lot of lifting and carrying. The moving company will pack your goods as well as load them on and off the truck. Also, your movers may unpack your belongings at your new home. Of course, you would need to pay extra for these services, but they will save your time and energy. Most importantly, you will not risk getting injured during the process.
Make sure you new home is safe and inhabitable
As soon as you arrive at your new home, check to make sure it’s safe. Take some time to make sure there aren’t any hazards in the way. Pay attention to things like an uneven sidewalk or an outdoor surface that might become slippery when wet. You’ll also want to make sure that all utilities are on at your new place. Take some time to go through the place to make sure your light switches and faucets are working. Also, check if your hot water is on and that the toilet is working properly.
Once your move is done, get to know your new environment and neighbors and enjoy the new chapter of your life!