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  • Charlinda Diaz

Occupational Therapists & Home Renovations: 5 Reasons OTs Should Be A Part Of Every Home Renovation



 

A good general contractor knows construction and, if they're great, they can walk you through the nuts and bolts of your home renovation and educate you on the process BUT they don't tend to know much about the physical needs and function of humans. Sure they can tell you the standard dimensions for a doorway, lay a solid foundation and install beautiful trim work but even the most talented contractor probably won't ask you how you intend to use the space, what your routine looks like, how long you envision yourself living there or who else will be visiting your home? That's because these questions are questions about human function, NOT construction.


We hire contractors to build our spaces. We hire interior designers to make our spaces look beautiful. So why don't we hire experts to make our spaces functional for our needs and abilities? {Enter Occupational Therapist}


Reasons to Hire an OT for your Home Renovation:

Reason #1

OTs specialize in human function. Every tip, trick, or equipment we introduce is to increase independence and dignity by improving or sustaining the highest level of human function. Each licensed OT receives specialized training to assess environments, to analyze and understand the skills and physical abilities that are required to perform any task and to analyze human safety risks.


Reason #2

OTs know the hazards of basic home setups. We have sat with, walked with and assisted countless clients with daily functional tasks including: making meals, going to the bathroom, showering, dressing, getting out of bed, transferring in/out of a chair, and household mobility. We have studied typical human function but also understand the functional challenges and long-term journeys of those who may have one (or many) diagnoses.


Reason #3

The details matter. If I had a nickel for every "accessible home" that turned out to be inaccessible... That's because the designer is not always in tune to (or even understands) the unique needs of the person. General accessible design does not account for visual inattention, or bicep weakness, or the a-typical size of the person BUT occupational therapists do! OTs know that even small textures in the floor can make mobility equipment hard to manage, that 1inch door thresh-hold feels like a mountain to scale from a wheelchair mobility level for those with arm weakness and that the morning glare on the bathroom countertop makes grooming routine nearly impossible for someone with glaucoma.


Reason #4

Get your money's worth. When home renovations begin, it's important to think about the future and the longevity of the design. OTs can provide great insight into some of the potential future challenges that any household might face and can provide tips and tricks to create a timeless home that will serve you well through any phase of life or functional changes that may come your way! With the right planning, your home can be adapted to your needs with minimal effort, avoiding additional expensive and messy renovations later on.


Reason #5

Unique people need unique solutions. C'mon people, we are good for more than just grab bars and commodes! OT's are creative, out-of-the box thinkers when it comes to custom design and accessibility. We know that every person is unique and so is their journey, budget and ability. We seek to find solutions that work for the individuals.


Reason #6

Beautiful design can be for everyone! There truly is no place like home. OTs can help you create a space that is both beautiful and inclusive AND no one has to notice! By incorporating the principles of Universal Design into the renovation plan, your home can be timeless, beautiful and have a high visitability (a place that those of all abilities can visit and enjoy) from stroller to wheelchair!

*More on Universal Design coming in future blog posts!


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