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 (and planning permission).
If you are looking after someone, certain home adaptations may reduce the physical demands on you.
The health and safety of both the disabled person or older person and the carer will be incorporated within the assessment and recommended provision.
Owners, private renters and people living in social housing can apply for financial help to pay for adaptations to their homes. Some grants are means-tested.
Often small adaptations can vastly improve a person’s safety and independence.
Small adaptations usually involve some element of ‘fitting or fixing’, and do not involve any structural changes to a property.
Examples of small adaptations include:
- grab rails (inside and out)
- short ramps
- door entry system
- better lighting
- accessible taps
- key safes
The need for one or more small adaptations is often identified before hospital discharge or when there is an assessed risk to someone, e.g. of falling.
Medium adaptations may involve some structural changes to your home and include:
- walk-in showers
- stair lifts
- large ramps
Medium adaptations are usually recommended by an occupational therapist and may require planning permission.
Large adaptations typically involve big 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 probably require planning permission and will be carried out by professional tradesmen.
Examples of large adaptations include:
- installing a through-floor lift
- changes to the layout of the home, e.g. relocating a bathroom or kitchen
- building an extension to create a downstairs bathroom or bedroom
If you want to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant to help you pay for large adaptations, you must have an assessment by an occupational therapist.
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 450 2330.