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How to Get Ready for Moving a Loved One into Your Home

Many adults experience a role reversal when aging parents need to move in with them. Whether for health or financial reasons, many seniors can no longer live alone later in life. At the same time, most seniors prefer not to move into assisted living or senior care facilities. One relatively inexpensive solution is inviting them to live with you. Providing care, companionship, and security can make a world of difference for your loved one.

Let Them Make Decisions

Many older adults are resistant to moving out of their homes. Especially if they’re living in the family home, aging in place is preferable for three out of four seniors, AARP notes. Unfortunately, there may be signs that it’s time for some assistance with daily living. In addition to needing help with eating, bathing, and getting out of bed, older adults may experience isolation or poor health when living alone.

At the same time, giving your loved one control over the decision making can help them feel better about the move. Work together to establish a timeline for decluttering, packing, and moving—and talk through it to help manage emotions. Being sensitive to your loved one’s needs is essential in this transition.

Decide What to Do with Their Home

If a senior family member is coming to live with you, deciding what to do with their current home is a major decision. While you shouldn’t make any demands on your parent or relative, the best choice for everyone might be to sell the home.

Overseeing a rental or managing upkeep of the place can be time-consuming and even expensive, though the rental income could be a financial benefit. But depending on the costs involved in upkeep—plus any remaining mortgage balance—it might be better to sell. Then, your loved one may have funds to put toward savings, medical expenses, or other needs.

Think About Storage

If your loved one is downsizing from their own home and moving into yours, you may need some storage solutions. Moving can be stressful and life-changing, so giving up prized possessions isn’t ideal. Do what you can to accommodate your loved one—even if that involves adding more storage to your home.

Instead of renting a storage unit far from your home, think about adding a steel building to your property. This way, your loved one won’t have to part with special items—big or small—and has immediate access to them if necessary. A steel building, especially, offers high durability and cost-effectiveness in comparison with monthly rental at a storage facility.

Plan for AccessibilityUnited Access Wheelchair Lifts for Sale

If your loved one has mobility or health challenges, you may need to modify your home for accessibility. Steps like installing lifts for stairs, building ramps for wheelchair access, installing handrails, and converting rooms can add up—costing you thousands of dollars.

Depending on your family member’s needs—and your existing home—it might even make more sense to purchase a new house. Think carefully about your family’s safety and comfort, then see if it’s worth looking at properties currently on the market.

Expect to Change Routines

Whether your home includes a partner, children, or other family members, moving in another person can change things. Next Avenue highlights what to consider—such as whether you’ll have help from your siblings or whether you already have a healthy relationship with your loved one.

Inviting a senior family member to move with you involves lifestyle changes for both of you. But it can also provide opportunities for connection that you may not have considered before.

The decision to move an older adult loved one into your home may not be an easy one. But being there for your family member can help them live a fuller and healthier life. Especially if they were unsafe living at home alone, this move could be necessary. Ultimately, the challenge lies with navigating their relocation and settling into their new place with you.

Photo via Pixabay


Accessible Transportation Means Independence for Connor

The McCarthy’s are a family who knows that life can change in an instant. Paul and Tanya McCarty live in Battleground, Washington with their two children. At the young age of sever, Conor, their son, was diagnosed with Ullrich Muscular Dystrophy, a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. The doctors thought that he had only a mild case, but then things changed.

United Access Conor McCarthy

Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy is a condition that mainly affects skeletal muscles (the muscles used for movement). Affected individuals show severe muscle weakness soon after birth, develop stiff joints (contractures) in their knees and elbows, and may have an unusual range of movement (hypermobility) in their wrists and ankles. Some of the debilitating symptoms of this disease include respiratory failure, scoliosis, and hip dislocation.

The last two years have been difficult for everyone in the family, but mostly for Conor. Conor stopped walking just before the 6th grade; contractures formed in his knees and elbows. Recently, Conor underwent a surgery to put rods into his back as a result of his scoliosis. Conor’s lungs are functioning at 29% of normal capacity.

“We, thankfully, do have a 2006 minivan,” says Mrs. McCarthy. “This is the only car we are able to get him [Conor] in and out of at this time due to the contractures in his knees. My kids go to a private school with no bus service, so we drive them back and forth daily. We have to lift my son in and out of the front seat.” As a result, Conor has chosen not to leave the house except for school. The lifting, pushing and pulling to transfer him in and out of the minivan has become too much for him. He says it hurts and he is afraid that his parents will get hurt as well.

Thanks to the Steelman Family Foundation, a few private donors, and the family’s own funds, the McCarthy family will be driving away in their beautiful midnight blue, side-entry, Honda Odyssey minivan from United Access [12905 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97230]. “Having an accessible van where Conor can easily enter and exit on his own is life changing for us. We will be able to do things as a family again and Conor will have his independence back.”

For more information about the Steelman Family Foundation, visit For more information about United Access, visit

Tips for Caregivers on Finding Special Needs-Accessible Housing

by Guest Blogger, Beverly Nelson

Affordability and availability are two of the biggest problems facing caregivers looking for homes that are accessible for a child or adult with special needs. Families who struggle to find accessible, move in-ready homes often have to settle for a home that needs modifications, which can be an extremely expensive proposition if you’re unable to find financial assistance or a government program to help defray the cost. Online resources for finding accessible homes are scant, though there are a few that allow you to do targeted searching based on specific criteria. In general, house hunting for families with a special needs individual can be difficult.


An accessible home is one that covers a wide range of requirements, with specific features and/or technologies to help accommodate people with mental or physical disabilities. Such accommodations should include kitchen counters and sinks that sit low enough to be accessible for an individual in a wheelchair. Other such features might include widened doorways (at least 32 inches across, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA), roll-under stoves, wheel-in showers and electrical outlets that are high enough for ready access. For an individual with limited mobility, front stairs create an obstacle requiring an entry ramp, a feature that can be quite difficult to find.

Some houses may feature a few of these accessibility and safety features, but not all do, making it necessary to complete the work by paying a contractor to make needed modifications (or doing them yourself). Finding a fully-accessible home often does little good, because they can be very expensive whether you’re buying or renting.


Well-informed real estate agents who have experience working with disabled individuals often are the best (and sometimes the only) resource for families looking for accessible housing. However, there are a few websites offering detailed information about houses with the right accessibility features. Barrier Free Home is a searchable site with detailed information about accessible housing throughout the United States. Listings feature basic details such as square footage, number of bedrooms, if there’s a garage, etc., as well as information specific to disabled accessibility, such as whether it’s ADA compliant, if it has a level entry, roll-in shower, roll-under sink, bathroom safety features, and more.

AMS Vans provides detailed information about wheelchair-accessible housing and assistance programs, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers online resources for people seeking accessible housing.

Government programs

There are a number of programs administered by HUD that are aimed at making housing more affordable and accessible for America’s disabled/special needs population. Section 811 is dedicated to helping product housing for very low-income, non-elderly individuals who have significant disabilities. Under Section 811, renters pay 30 percent of their adjusted income, thereby ensuring affordability. HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program also helps very low-income families, people with disabilities and the elderly afford housing in the private market. Those who participate in Section 8 find their own housing but pay only 30 percent of their income.


A lot depends on finding the right company to handle your move. It requires time spent online doing research; reading customer reviews, investigating a moving company and its complaint history, verifying its certifications and insurance, and getting quotes before making a decision. A reputable company should take inventory of all your belongings and do a walk-through of your home to get an idea of how much needs moving. Never pay a cash deposit in advance, and avoid packing costs for boxes and packing materials. Getting everything straightened out in advance will help make sure all goes well on moving day.

Finding accessible housing if you have a special needs family member can take time and patience. Becoming familiar with your rights and available resources can help you find properties that address your needs and make it easier for a disabled individual to live in happiness and convenience.

Helping the Hardin Family on Their Road to Independence

Freedom to move around is something most people take for granted. For families like Steve and Jessica Hardin, this is not something they take lightly. Their three-year old son, Noah, suffers from Freeman Sheldon Syndrome, a condition that primarily affects the face, hands, and feet. Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome is also characterized by joint deformities that restrict movement. People with this disorder typically have multiple contractures in the hands and feet at birth as well as severe scoliosis. Last summer Noah got his first power wheelchair and has loved exploring his world on his own.

With this new power wheelchair comes even more challenges with transportation. The Hardins currently drive Noah in their small SUV, which is now too small and doesn’t come with a ramp or lift to help Noah and his new 300-pound power wheelchair in and out of the SUV.

“Our plan is to sell this vehicle and put the proceeds toward a wheelchair accessible van so that we can transport Noah’s chair,” said Jessica Hardin. “In addition, this would enable us to transport Noah while he’s seated in his chair. As Noah is getting bigger, it will be more challenging to lift him into his adapted car seat, particularly for my husband, who also has Freeman Sheldon Syndrome.” Currently, Noah’s power wheelchair has to remain at home or at preschool when the bus transports him back and forth to his developmental preschool.

“The stories we hear every day and the smiles we see on our customers faces when they drive away for the first time, fuel our passion for the work we do,” said United Access Founder, Richard May.

Thanks to the generosity of the Steelman Family Foundation, the Hardin family will be driving away in their new 2016 BraunAbility Dodge Caravan today at the United Access [formerly Performance Mobility at 12905 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97230].

“We are dedicated to giving back to the community that has given so much to us,” said René Steelman, founder of the Foundation.

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For more information about the Steelman Family Foundation, visit For more information about United Access, visit