A home is foundational to our well-being. For most, our home provides us with a sense of security, safety, and a place where we most often spend time with our loved ones. To me, this means having a roof over my head, safe running water, protection from weather extremities, and creating memories with my family and friends. We all define and describe what home means to us in different ways, but we share the common understanding that home is at the core of our daily lives. Purchasing or renting a home tends to be the single greatest expenditure Americans make. Our home can also play a role in shaping our health and well-being. However, as we and our loved ones continue to live longer than our parents and grandparents before us, we can also expect to experience disability, such as mobility limitations that require assistive equipment like a wheelchair, walker, or cane. When homes include steps to the main entrance, have no bathroom on the first floor, and the door widths are too narrow to accommodate a wheelchair, our home, our very core, is disrupted and negative consequences can occur. To shed some light on this issue, inclusive design approaches like having a visitable home can prevent us from having to leave our home and move into an assisted living facility. Visitable Montana defines a visitable home, or visitability in three parts: 1) home has a zero step path of travel from the main entrance of the home to the street, sidewalk, or driveway; 2) doorways that are a minimum of 32 inches wide and hallways that are at least 36 inches wide on the main floor; and, 3) basic access to at least a half bathroom on the main floor. Accessible design of homes can support people to age in place, to have increased independence and to be socially connected to friends and family.
Programs and Support:
MAEP provides positioning, seating, mobility, recreation and some ADL equipment to Montanans with qualifying developmental disabilities. This grant-funded program may be able to loan adaptive equipment (AE) to children, teens and adults who have a qualifying developmental disability (see eligibility form) and are unable to acquire the AE by other means or need to trial equipment prior to purchase. Our clinical coordinator is available to assist families, therapists, and family support specialists in selecting the best equipment to meet each person’s specific needs.
MATP provides AT information and services in education, employment, community living, and telecommunications. The mission is to enhance the independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion of individuals with disabilities through consumer responsiveness as defined in the AT act.
MonTECH oversees various assistive technology (AT) programs and is continually seeking to expand the AT services and supports available to Montanans. Click here to view other projects and programs offered through MonTECH.