3 minute read

Finding Freedom: A Guide to Fully Accessible Homes in SDA

Adam Wyatt
Updated On
June 18, 2024

Picture a world where your home isn't just a place you live, but a place that anticipates your needs and supports your independence. This isn't science fiction; it's the reality of Improved Liveability in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

At Vertika, we understand that navigating the NDIS and finding the right SDA home can feel like an overwhelming task. Are you new to the different design categories and unsure which is the right one for you? It’s time to change that. Today, we're diving deep into Improved Liveability; a perfect accommodation solution for many NDIS participants. So, grab a cuppa, settle in, and let's unlock a world of possibility.

What are the four SDA design categories?

Let’s start with the basics. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recognises four design categories for SDA properties:

1. Improved Liveability

This category is designed with thoughtful features to enhance accessibility and to meet sensory, intellectual, or cognitive needs. Think wider doorways, clear signage, and adjustable lighting.

2. Fully Accessible

This category offers a high level of physical access for residents with functional impairment and significant mobility limitations. Features may include ceiling hoists, wider doorways, and accessible bathrooms.

3. High Physical Support

This category is designed for individuals with very high physical needs. Features may include home automation systems, backup power supplies, and specialist equipment like hoists.

4. Robust

This category is built with extra durability and strong materials to minimise the risk of damage and create a safe environment for residents who might require additional support with managing behaviours.

What exactly is a Fully Accessible home?

A Fully Accessible home falls under the second category and is designed specifically for people with significant physical limitations. These homes prioritise step-free access, boasting features like ramps, wider doorways, and level thresholds.  

Imagine the liberation of moving seamlessly from room to room, without any barriers holding you back. It’s exactly this kind of physical freedom that a Fully Accessible home is designed to accommodate.  

Beyond the Threshold: Design Features and their Practical Benefits

Now, to add a bit more detail to your understanding, let's delve deeper into the specific features that make a fully accessible SDA home a game-changer:

  • Wide doorways and hallways: No more squeezing through narrow spaces! Generous doorways and hallways ensure easy maneuvering with a wheelchair, mobility aids, or a support person by your side.
  • Ramps in place of stairs: Stairs become a thing of the past. Ramps with proper gradient and railings provide safe and independent access to different levels within the home.
  • Lowered benchtops and accessible cabinetry: Meal prep and everyday tasks become a breeze with countertops at a comfortable height and cabinets designed for easy reach. Electric cooker tops and accessible ovens offer added convenience and safety.
  • Accessible bathrooms: Spacious bathrooms with grab bars, shower seats, and a roll-in shower eliminate dependence for bathing and washing. These features give you peace of mind knowing you can manage these daily routines with confidence and privacy.
  • Easy-to-use tapware and door handles: Lever handles on doors and faucets that require minimal grip strength make everyday tasks effortless.
  • Ample turning space: Spacious living areas allow for easy maneuvering of wheelchairs and provide ample room for support workers to assist you when needed.

Living the Dream: Lifestyle Benefits of a Fully Accessible Home

The benefits of these features extend far beyond practicality. They translate into a greater sense of independence, dignity, and control. Envisage the freedom of preparing your own meals, showering independently, or effortlessly navigating your living space. These seemingly small things contribute significantly to a life of self-reliance and empowerment.

A Fully Accessible SDA home isn't just about functionality; it's about enjoying a fun and fulfilling lifestyle. Here's how:

  • Increased safety and reduced risk of falls: The well-thought-out design minimises the risk of accidents often associated with navigating an inaccessible environment.
  • Reduced reliance on support: Many everyday tasks become achievable independently, allowing you to manage your time and routine with greater control.
  • Improved mental well-being: The sense of independence and control empowers you to live a life of autonomy and self-reliance, contributing to a stronger sense of freedom and dignity.
  • Social engagement: The ease of movement within the home makes it easier to host friends and family, enabling you to build stronger social connections.

A Spectrum of Needs: Fully Accessible SDA and Specific Disabilities

While Fully Accessible homes are designed to accommodate a wide range of physical limitations, here are some specific conditions that benefit significantly from these kinds of features:

  • Spinal cord injuries: Ramps, wide doorways, and accessible bathrooms are essential for people with limited mobility.
  • Muscular dystrophy: Lowered countertops, easy-grip handles, and open floor plans empower people with reduced muscle strength.
  • Amputations: Ample turning space, grab bars, and accessible showers meet the specific needs of people with limb loss.
  • Osteoporosis: The reduced risk of falls associated with a fully accessible design provides peace of mind for those with weakened bones.

For people living with these disabilities and many more, a Fully Accessible SDA home is more than just a place to live; it's a springboard for a life filled with endless possibilities. It's all about reclaiming your independence, embracing your abilities, and living life without limits.

Searching for Fully Accessible Accommodation?

At Vertika, we understand that navigating the NDIS and finding the right SDA home can feel overwhelming. Perhaps you're unsure of the different design categories or which one best fits your needs. Vertika is here to be your guide.  

With our specialist property expertise and deep understanding of living with disabilities, Vertika strives to match every participant with the perfect home every time.  

Talk to a friendly member of our team today and discover the Vertika difference.

Adam Wyatt
Updated On
June 18, 2024
Adam Wyatt is a content writer at Vertika and is a subject matter expert of the NDIS space. He holds a doctorate in media and film studies and is an advocate for human centred content that makes a difference in people’s lives.
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