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Household cleaning is particularly important for people with disabilities, a group of people who spend more time than average in their homes.Your grandparents may not have received an advanced, formal education, but they almost certainly recognized that a clean home is a healthy home. Data from our contemporary medical literature confirms what our ancestors understood, the association between disease and household dirt.For example, research published in the “Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology” documents the association between dust and pulmonary disease. Household dust mites trigger asthmatic symptoms.

Housekeeping can be a source of fatigue, frustration and pain for people with disabilities, particularly when disabilities limit the function of upper and lower extremities. A restricted range of motion can make it difficult or impossible to accomplish the routine tasks of housekeeping: sweeping, mopping, dusting, polishing, vacuuming, and laundry. Also, the repetitive motions of housekeeping---- bending, washing, wringing, ironing, folding, squeezing, lifting---can increase symptoms of preexisting physical vulnerabilities.

Assistive devices can make housekeeping easier, and some of these devices are both simple in their design and inexpensive.Colored overlays, for example, can help people with dyslexia to read cleaning instructions.Reachers can make a multitude of cleaning supplies accessible to people who live with dwarfism, and grippers can help people who use wheelchairs to clean their floors. Cleaning equipment has become more sophisticated with the passage of time, and robotic equipment is a boon for many people with disabilities. In fact, the role of American robotic technology in facilitating residential cleaning for people with visual and physical disabilities has been so widely recognized that the Australian Human Rights Commission reports: “For blind people, it scours the house for dirt, you don’t need to see it; for people with physical disabilities, it moves itself, so you don’t need to sweep or push the unit, or carry the vacuum cleaner from room to room.” Robotic cleaning equipment has many helpful features for people with disabilities. Many models can be pre-programmed, re-charged and operated by remote control or through the use of a single button. A single piece of equipment can serve multiple cleaning functions. Accessory kits are available with cleaning brushes, washable HEPA filters and detachable microfiber pads. Robotic cleaning equipment for floors includes dusters, brooms, vacuums, dry mops and wet mops. There are robotic steam cleaners and vacuum cleaners for rugs, carpets, window treatments and upholstered furniture. Robotic window cleaners will clean glass that is framed and unframed. Pool cleaners are available for residential, in-ground pools. Robotic gutter cleaners will remove leaves and other debris.

Despite the availability of assistive equipment, sometimes, a wise choice from a local store will do the trick. For example, light weight equipment is preferable for people whose strength is limited by neurological, medical and physical disabilities. HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate air filters) are always a good choice. Sometimes, accessibility problems can be eliminated or diminished by long, angled handles on cleaning equipment such as mops, brooms, and dust pans. Long handles on grabbers and reachers can be especially helpful while cleaning for people who use wheelchairs and for people with achondroplasia and other forms of dwarfism.



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