Independent Living for Aging Adults With Disabilities

A senior man smiles with his mouth and his eyes as he rests his chin and hands on his cane.
Aging adults with disabilities have several options when it comes to housing that promotes independent living. 
 
Assisted living communities, in-home care, group homes, and granny flats are some living facilities that may be suitable for older folks with disabilities. 
 
Medical alert devices and home modifications can help an aging adult with disabilities age in place.  

How Can a Disability Affect an Aging Adult? 

Growing old has its challenges, and aging adults may start to find themselves struggling with basic tasks. Maintaining independence as you age can be difficult, and older folks with disabilities may face additional obstacles.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists depression, diabetes, and obesity among the health conditions people with disabilities are twice as likely to suffer from.  

Mobility issues and intellectual impairments can prevent adults with disabilities from getting access to essential services, such as healthcare. 

Whether your loved one recently developed a disability or has been living with one all their life, support services will become more essential as they age. 

If your aging loved one has a disability, you may be wondering if it’s possible for them to keep their independence as time goes by.  

What does independent living mean for older adults with disabilities? Keep reading to find out. 

Can Disabled People Live Independently? 

The U.S. Government offers housing aid to those with disabilities. There are several local, federal, and state housing programs to assist disabled adults with subsidized housing, home modifications, and developing independent living skills. 

Furthermore, the United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR) protects the right of people with disabilities to maintain their independence and enjoy the freedom of choice. 

But ‘independent living’ may look different for each individual with disabilities.  

An older woman, a middle aged woman, and a child all smile and laugh together as the older woman gently rests on a walker.

For example, someone who uses a walker may be able to live on their own and rely on a fall detection device for safety, while a wheelchair user may need a home health aide. Their circumstances are different, but both of them have a degree of independence. 

The level of independence enjoyed by an older person with disabilities will vary, and some may have more housing options available to them than others. 

What Are the Types of Disabilities Aging Adults Struggle With? 
 
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in every four adults in the U.S. has at least one disability. 
 
Here are the six most common disabilities that affect adults in the U.S.: 
 
Hearing difficulties 
Vision impairments* 
Cognitive impairments 
Mobility issues 
Difficulties with self-care and grooming 
Problems with living independently 
 
*In particular, people with vision disabilities struggle to gain access to proper healthcare services. 

Housing Options That Help People with Disabilities Maintain Independence 

Those approaching retirement should start looking at housing options for their golden years sooner rather than later.  

Aging adults with disabilities will likely face greater challenges than older folks who are more able-bodied. Therefore it’s even more crucial to find proper housing facilities early on. 

Here are some housing options that may help your aging loved one live independently: 

In-home care or aging in place 

In-home care or aging in place is the preferred option for nearly 80% of aging adults in the U.S. However, older folks with disabilities may require extra support services — such as home health aides — if they choose to age in place (in their home).  

Properly aging in place takes a lot of advanced planning and preparation — both by the family and the individual who needs to adjust to a modified home.  

A smiling older man sits on a couch as he rests his hands on his cane.

A fall prevention checklist may give you an idea of the lifestyle changes and home modifications your aging loved one can expect. 

Certain new technologies and home modifications can facilitate independent living for disabled adults. 

Medical alert systems 

These compact, easy-to-use devices are a great addition to the home of a loved one who’s living with disabilities.  

No matter what type of living facility you choose, a medical alert device can be an invaluable tool as it helps the people you love to connect to emergency services in their time of need.  

Medical alert devices can be used around the house — and are especially handy for use in areas where the risk of falling is high, such as showers and staircases — or on the move. No matter your needs, LogicMark has a range of products available to suit your lifestyle. 

Our devices are water-resistant and come with rechargeable batteries for convenience. 

You can choose one of devices that connects directly to pre-programmed emergency contacts, such as first responders or primary caregivers.  

We also have monitored devices that will put your loved one in touch with a 24/7 monitoring center if they need help. 

If you’re not sure which device is best for you, take a look at our article on how to choose a medical alert device. You can also contact us directly for more information. 

Home modifications 

If an adult has lived with their disability all their life — in other words, it’s not a mobility issue they’ve developed in old age, but a condition they’ve been born with like cerebral palsy — they might already live in a home with existing modifications, like ceiling track lifts and automatic door openers. 

A fall prevention checklist may give you an idea of the lifestyle changes and home modifications your aging loved one can expect. 

Certain new technologies and home modifications can facilitate independent living for disabled adults. 

Medical alert systems 

These compact, easy-to-use devices are a great addition to the home of a loved one who’s living with disabilities.  

No matter what type of living facility you choose, a medical alert device can be an invaluable tool as it helps the people you love to connect to emergency services in their time of need.  

Medical alert devices can be used around the house — and are especially handy for use in areas where the risk of falling is high, such as showers and staircases — or on the move. No matter your needs, LogicMark has a range of products available to suit your lifestyle. 

Our devices are water-resistant and come with rechargeable batteries for convenience. 

You can choose one of devices that connects directly to pre-programmed emergency contacts, such as first responders or primary caregivers.  

We also have monitored devices that will put your loved one in touch with a 24/7 monitoring center if they need help. 

If you’re not sure which device is best for you, take a look at our article on how to choose a medical alert device. You can also contact us directly for more information. 

Home modifications 

If an adult has lived with their disability all their life — in other words, it’s not a mobility issue they’ve developed in old age, but a condition they’ve been born with like cerebral palsy — they might already live in a home with existing modifications, like ceiling track lifts and automatic door openers. 

A fall prevention checklist may give you an idea of the lifestyle changes and home modifications your aging loved one can expect. 

Certain new technologies and home modifications can facilitate independent living for disabled adults. 

Medical alert systems 

These compact, easy-to-use devices are a great addition to the home of a loved one who’s living with disabilities.  

No matter what type of living facility you choose, a medical alert device can be an invaluable tool as it helps the people you love to connect to emergency services in their time of need.  

Medical alert devices can be used around the house — and are especially handy for use in areas where the risk of falling is high, such as showers and staircases — or on the move. No matter your needs, LogicMark has a range of products available to suit your lifestyle. 

Our devices are water-resistant and come with rechargeable batteries for convenience. 

You can choose one of devices that connects directly to pre-programmed emergency contacts, such as first responders or primary caregivers.  

We also have monitored devices that will put your loved one in touch with a 24/7 monitoring center if they need help. 

If you’re not sure which device is best for you, take a look at our article on how to choose a medical alert device. You can also contact us directly for more information. 

Home modifications 

If an adult has lived with their disability all their life — in other words, it’s not a mobility issue they’ve developed in old age, but a condition they’ve been born with like cerebral palsy — they might already live in a home with existing modifications, like ceiling track lifts and automatic door openers. 

However, a disability that develops in old age will require home modifications. Some of these include: 

  • Removable wheelchair ramps 
  • Stairlifts or additional handrails 
  • Bright LED lighting with accessible switches 
  • Chairlifts and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs 
  • Various assistive devices, such as bath seats, commode chairs, grab bars, and raised toilet seats 
  • Changes made to each room to ensure the space is safe for adults with disabilities 
A wheelchair ramp attached to a home.

Depending on their specific disabilities, aging adults may have additional considerations. An Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) will be able to help. To find a CAPS near you, get in touch with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  

Granny flats or mother-in-law cottages 

This refers to a dwelling that’s separate from the main home on the property, but near enough that aging loved ones feel supported.  

Cottages like these typically accommodate two people, making them perfect for an adult with disabilities and their designated caregiver. 

Group homes 

Also called supportive housing, group homes let multiple people live together in a housing unit where they can receive medical and personal care. 

This environment allows disabled adults to either live on their own, live with a home health aide, or receive regular care from support services. 

Group homes may allow residents to have a private room, with the option to enjoy the company of other adults who reside in the same facility. 

Assisted living options 

Assisted living is the term used to refer to communities where aging adults live when they need help meeting their social and personal needs. 

An older woman gives a big smile during a card game with another older woman.

These facilities are perfect if your loved one requires assistance with basic daily tasks but does not have serious medical requirements. 

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) 

Similar to assisted living communities, CCRCs offer onsite medical services, too. This is a good choice for disabled adults who need ongoing medical care. 

Adults who are getting on in years, and especially those who have disabilities that will worsen with time — such as progressive disorders like muscular dystrophy — may want to consider continuing care retirement communities. 

Living with other family members 

Even though you love your parents, taking care of an aging family member — especially one with a disability — can be physically, mentally, and emotionally difficult.  

Assuming the role of caregiver for your parents can be challenging and costly, especially for families who are already struggling financially. In some cases, government grants may help. 

It may also be difficult for a parent to adjust to living with another family member.

If you’re considering taking on the care of a family member with disabilities, this article may help you decide if it’s the right choice for you and your loved one. 

Nursing homes 

Many people — both aging parents and their families who care for them — are put off by the idea of nursing homes which may be regarded as impersonal spaces.  

Nursing home care is expensive, too. In the U.S., it can cost between $9,000 and $15,000 per month. If your parent’s disability has caused health complications that need round-the-clock care, you may need to consider a nursing home. 

Where Can I Learn More about Medical Alert Devices for Adults with Disabilities? 

The prospect of caring for a parent with physical disabilities can be overwhelming — but you don’t have to carry this responsibility alone. LogicMark can help. 

Our medical alert devices are designed to simplify your life and keep your aging loved ones safe and sound. Get in touch today to learn more. 

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