Home sweet accessible home

If your needs have changed after sustaining an SCI, you may need to re-evaluate your housing situation. Whether that means making adjustments to your current home or looking for a new one, we can help determine your options. Your health team and social worker will also play a role in understanding the level of support you require.

Basic considerations

Everyone’s housing needs are different, but there are some issues you will need to consider when looking at your own unique situation.

In terms of the big picture, ask yourself

  • Where do you want or need to live? Where is close enough to the services you require?
  • Who is going to live with you?
  • What are your accessibility and equipment needs?
  • Do you need added support services? If so, which?

Also, ask yourself what “accessible” means to you. Absence of steps, minimum width of doorways, and specific type of flooring? Roll-in shower, lifts in some rooms and an elevator?

How you want to use your home and spend your time will factor into your needs. Do you enjoy cooking or gardening? Tinkering in the garage? Sewing and crafts? Your career and interests will need to be accommodated.

Staying in your current home

If it is feasible to stay in your current home, it will likely need modifications. Reach out to us at SCI Ontario to understand what funding options may be available for you to renovate for greater accessibility.

Modifications range from the simple (changing door knobs to levers, switching carpet to wood floors, or adding grab bars) to the more complex (creating access ramps, installing a lift or a roll-in shower, widening doorways and halls, and lowering counter tops). In the end, your home needs to be both safe and comfortable. It’s important to invest in modifications that will make you happy, as greater happiness ensures greater health.

You can also use attendant care services at home. Attendants help with routine activities of daily living – those you would do on your own if possible. You take responsibility for the decisions and training involved in your own assistance.

Supportive housing options

If your individual needs mean that you cannot stay in your current home (or move to similar home in another location), there are several housing options to consider. Each offers a different level of support depending on the care and services you require. Each also has different costs and wait times.

Supportive service living units (SSLUs)

SSLUs or “Supportive Living” are private or shared apartment units in apartment buildings which offer on-site attendant care services – not nursing – 24 hours/day. These units are suitable if you are able to direct your own care, require low to moderate levels of care, and want to live independently in the community. You manage your own attendant schedule, groceries and meals, and other forms of care such as nursing and occupational therapy through CCAC.

Transitional living

These facilities are temporary and offer accessible, short-term living arrangements (approximately 6-18 months) if you are working through home modifications or awaiting space in another facility. To be eligible, you must have a confirmed permanent living arrangement where you will move after your stay. Transitional living generally offers 24/7 attendant care paid for by the Ministry of Health, but living expenses (such as food and medications) are your responsibility.

Long-term care (LTC)

Long-term care homes typically provides up to 2.5 hours of care throughout the day if your needs cannot be met in the community. LTC homes offer some variation of the following services: 24-hour nursing and medical support, assistance with personal care and eating, meals and snacks, laundry and housecleaning, and social/recreational programs.

Complex continuing care (CCC)

CCC units are specialize hospital units designed for people who require at least five hours of care per day and cannot live in a long-term care facility or at home. CCC units are only available at some hospitals and provide all medical and nursing care as well as meals and some rehab.

Retirement homes

If you are considered a senior and can live independently with minimal support, you may consider a retirement home. Retirement homes have wheelchair accessible units, optional services such as meals, laundry and housekeeping, social activities, and on-call nursing or medical staff.