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When it becomes difficult to live in your current home - perhaps because of illness, disability or frailty - your first reaction might be to think about moving.

Fortunately, this isn’t always necessary. It is often possible to adapt your current home to make it easier and safer for you to carry on living there.

Some home adaptations are simple and inexpensive, others may involve some building work.

If you are looking after someone, certain home adaptations may reduce the physical demands put upon you.

It may alleviate the physical demands experienced by the carer. The health and safety of both the disabled person and the carer will be incorporated within the assessment and recommended provision.

Minor adaptations

Often very minor adaptations can vastly improve a person’s safety and independence.

Minor adaptations typically cost under £1,000. They usually involve some element of ‘fitting or fixing’, e.g. a stair or grab rail, and do not involve any structural changes to a property.

Examples of minor adaptations include:

  • grab rails (inside and out)
  • short ramps
  • door entry system
  • better lighting
  • lever taps.

An occupational therapist will be able to assess if there are any minor adaptations which could be made to your home to help keep you safe and independent.

You may have to pay towards a minor adaptation but the cost will be based on your financial circumstances.

Major adaptations

Major adaptations typically involve some structural changes to make your home better suited to your needs.

Major building work is often needed, with the associated disruption to your day-to-day life. The building works will be carried out by professional tradesmen.

Examples of major adaptations include:

  • installing an outside ramp or stair lift
  • the widening of door frames to allow wheelchair access
  • creating a downstairs bathroom or walk-in shower
  • improvements to the kitchen, e.g. lowering of worktops
  • improved access to the garden.

The above list is not exhaustive and an occupational therapist will be able to assess what adaptations you need.

If you have care and support needs, you may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant of up to £36,000 to help you pay for major adaptations.

If you think you need adaptations to your home

Contact your local social services department to arrange for an occupational therapist (OT) visit. The OT will assess if and how your property can be adapted to meet your needs. If the situation is urgent, tell them.

Local councils often have long waiting lists, so if you can afford it, you might prefer to consult an occupational therapist independently. Find a local one here or call: 0207 989 0681.

Last updated: 31/05/2016