As a person with a disability, moving can be a challenging experience. Not only are you facing unknown challenges ahead as you adjust to a new living environment, you are also facing the stressors of moving that are nearly universal. However, your disability does not have to add to the myriad of challenges that accompany moving. With a bit of planning and innovation, your move can be a smooth and seamless experience that leaves you celebrating the change in your living environment. What follows is a list of several essential tips to assist you in your move.
Tip Number One: Planning is frequently challenging to undertake in the frantic pace of moving. Nevertheless, making special efforts to plan how you will transport your medical equipment to your new home is worth your time. Make a plan for where you will store important items once you explore and evaluate your new home.
For example, if you plan to store any medication in the kitchen, write ‘Medication, bottom shelf’ on a paper plate and tape it to the cupboard door. No matter if it’s the first or last thing you move, anyone who is assisting you in this process will be able to respect the system you have in place. You, too, will be able to find a critical item in a snap.
This system of assigning locations to vital items also works for heavy items or boxes. If friends and family or a moving company place boxes or furniture in the correct rooms via a sign on the door, you’re saved the huge undertaking of shifting items from room to room. This can take hours when you’re limited by what you can carry on your lap or tug along behind your chair.
Tip Number Two: It is advisable to create an unpacking station in each room. This can be something as simple and as portable as a card table, which can be used to hold a box you are unpacking. This gives you a safe place to place the box, and prevents stooping over to reach in a box, which can tip your wheelchair or cause damage to your back, arms, and hips, according to Supportive Services Moving. You can take the table from room to room easily as you unpack. Select a model that you can grasp and carry. Look for easily folding legs, light-weight materials, and single-handed setup.
Tip Number Three: When moving, it is important not only to transfer your belongings, but also your services to your new address. For many people with a disability, services like nursing care, paratransit vans, and other supportive services are critical for daily life. Be in communication with your service providers before, during, and after your move. Make a list of services, doctors, and related contacts and change your address. It is often a good idea to request confirmation of their receipt of this change in writing, as it will ensure that you have proof you undertook the task.
Tip Number Four: Be flexible. Setting up your new environment to meet your needs can be a process of trial and error. Give yourself permission to move items, make changes, and try new things in your new home. A solution that worked for you admirably in your previous home may not work in your new living situation, and you should do some brainstorming and research if something just isn’t working for you. Look at this period of change as an opportunity to explore new ideas and broaden your problem-solving and solution-creating skills.
Tip Number Five: Ask for help. Until you find your groove in your new home, you may need more or new types of assistance. If you find this to be true before, during or after your move, advocate for yourself without apology. You are fully and totally entitled to a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable existence, even if the needs you have in order to make that possible have changed. As a new home is intended to increase your quality of life, advocating for yourself can only serve to enhance your meeting that objective.