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How to Remodel for Accessibility

To move or not to move? That’s a question many families struggle with when they realize their home isn’t practical for an aging or disabled family member.

Todd and Paula Crawford tried to sell their two-story home in Ringgold, Georgia, after their son Mackenzie was diagnosed in 2004 with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rapidly progressive form of muscular dystrophy that occurs primarily in boys.

They couldn’t find a buyer during the recession, nor could they locate a home on the market that would meet Mackenzie’s accessibility needs and still accommodate the rest of the family. So they decided in August 2013, after Mackenzie, then 13 years old, fell down some stairs and broke his arm, to remodel their house to make it handicap accessible.

“After [the fall], he quit going up and down stairs,” Todd says. “We had to put a mattress in our dining room for him to sleep on, effectively making it his bedroom. He lived out of a laundry basket, in regards to how his clothes were stored, for a year until we got the remodel completed.”

If you remodel your home for handicap accessibility, your first priority should be to get the access you or your loved one need, experts say. Additionally, maintain your home’s appeal to as broad a market as possible, should you eventually sell it, to help recoup your investment.

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