The Whole Person has been providing home modification in the Kansas City area for over five years. The population we serve are people with disabilities. Accessibility is a significant issue that people with physical limitations deal with every day of their lives.
It has been a very rewarding experience for all of our staff to see many of our consumers receiving home modifications. Ramps and lifts assist consumers with gaining access to their homes when they can’t safely use steps. Grab bars and handrails give consumers a more secure way to get upstairs or get in and out of a bathtub. Modifications can also eliminate bathtubs by creating zero entrance showers easily used with a rolling shower chair.
Our organization has been able to increase funding for our home modification program every year since we started providing this service. This year the need was greater than ever. Unfortunately, we have already used all our available funding and we are only halfway through our fiscal year. More funds won’t be available until next October.
As a way to continue to assist our consumers, we are offering home assessments. The assessments are being completed by occupational therapists from our Home Health Agency. Although I am the CEO of The Whole Person, I am also a certified occupational therapist and have had the opportunity to help complete many of the assessments in our consumers’ homes.
Throughout these assessments, we have focused on the use of adaptive equipment. There are thousands of different types of equipment that help a person get dressed, allow them to use a toilet and bathtub safely, or cook a meal. Wheelchairs and walkers are fairly common. Some of the other types of adaptive equipment are not well known and are not readily available at the local store.
By no longer having the funding for big, expensive projects, we have discovered how less costly adaptive equipment can also improve the quality of someone’s life by increasing independence and lowering the risk of falling and other injuries. Safety is the important goal. Too many people in Kansas City have homes that prohibit them from being able to get in and out of their house without assistance. What if a fire occurs in a home where the individual uses a wheelchair and can’t go down the stairs at the entrance to the house? What if the bathroom doorway is too small to allow a wheelchair through? These are dangerous and unthinkable conditions that way too many of our fellow Kansas Citians deal with every day. There are companies and organizations like ours available to assist individuals but the need is far greater than what we can provide. And the funding is woefully short to take care of the need.
To learn more, visit The Whole Person’s website.
Editor’s note: Read Julie’s interview in our newest blog series, Pages with Partners.