Moving with a Disability

There are few things more stressful than moving.  The farther you move, the more stressful it gets. Ignoring the fact that you’re in a new place where you might not have any friends or family, but you need to find new doctors, new places to go grocery shopping, and find new things to do.  Add disability on top of that, and it becomes downright overwhelming. It’s difficult to navigate, and one misstep could mean losing some independence, at least for a time. So, as someone who has moved 13+ hours away from their childhood home in the last 3 years, let me give you some tips on making the move go as smoothly as possible.  This article is NOT going to go over things like buying/selling a home or packing tips.  You can go just about anywhere on the internet for that. This article is going to focus on how you can make the transition itself as smooth as possible.

Take Stock and List Your Needs

What kinds of services do you currently have?  Do you have PCA’s? Do you see a certain specialist once or twice a year?  Write down everything you currently receive. If you’re on a waiting list or in the process of receiving additional assistance, note these too.  Even if you pay out of pocket for something that allows you to be more independent, put it on the list. Be as detailed as you can, because the last thing you want is to need a service and find out you can’t get it when you need it.  Some services to list might include:

  • Any and all doctors, including physical/occupational therapists
  • Wheelchair/mobility equipment repair
  • Durable medical equipment supplier
  • Accessible van mechanic
  • PCA agency (if you use an agency)
  • Grocery delivery
  • Veterinarian for service animal
  • SSI

Check Your Assistance Documentation

The services you receive for things like PCAs and medical equipment might differ if you’re moving far enough away.  Here in the United States, programs differ greatly from state to state, and there are inconsistencies from county to county. When I moved five states away, the only thing that stayed the same for me was SSI.  Look at any documentation you have for your services to see if they transfer to your new home. If they don’t, you’re probably going to have to end your current services before starting them in your new location.  Your service provider might have specific information about this, so reach out to them as soon as possible. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

Online Resources

If you take anything away from these blogs over the past months, it’s that the internet is your greatest resource.  Unless you are populating a new town on your own, there’s probably someone online who’s already done what you’re about to do.  Ask in forums and Facebook groups for your disability if anyone lives in your new town/state, and ask what services they use. They’ve done the hard work for you, and can help you get what you need.  This isn’t an outright alternative for google or other resources, but it’s a good place to start. Your experiences might be slightly different, but they’re a fantastic resource to start. And you might even wind up having a new friend in your new area!

These online resources were a life-saver when I moved.  The Facebook group I’m in pointed me in the right direction for the services I need and even brought up things I never would have thought of otherwise.  

Other Things to Do

Okay, so you’ve got at least an idea on how to get the services you need in your new location.  There are a few things to do still, but these are more minor yet still important. One thing that I think is super important is to alert the fire department that someone with a disability is living in your residence.  That way if there’s an emergency, they know you might need extra help. Same thing goes for the electric and water companies. If there’s an outage and you need power for your equipment, they will usually put you on the list to get power first.

Moving is scary.  It’s full of new experiences and uncertainties.  It’s also full of promise and hope. Moving is a new beginning, which means starting fresh.  By starting off on the right foot, you ensure that you’re going to be as successful as possible in your new endeavors.  What are your tips for moving? What’s one thing you wish you knew before you moved? Comment below!

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