Why adapt your home?
You might want to consider making adaptations to your home if you are finding it harder to carry out everyday tasks. For example:
- answering the door
- managing stairs
- using the bathroom
- using kitchen equipment safely
Sometimes you might need to consider larger adaptations, for example if you are having difficulties:
- getting in and out of your home
- moving around inside
If you are losing your sight or your hearing or having problems with your memory there is also a range of technology and equipment that could help you with your specific needs.
Types of adaptation
Tasks that used to be easy may have become more difficult but there are many types of adaptation and equipment that can make your life easier. Some examples include:
- installing a downstairs bathroom
- fitting a stairlift
- widening doorways
- lowering worktops in the kitchen
- installing outdoor stair rails or a ramp
- installing grab rails in a bathroom
- adding a bath seat or electric bath lift
- fitting a second banister on a staircase
- riser-recliner chairs
- walking frames
- perching stools in your kitchen or shower
- safety equipment, such as pendants or alarms
Small kitchen aids
- kettle tippers
- easy-open can openers
- adapted cutlery
Deciding what you need
If you think you need some adaptations to your home you should contact the adult social services department of your local council, your GP or local Clinical Commissioning Group, and ask for an assessment by an occupational therapist (OT). The assessment is free.
If you think you might need help with your personal care, such as getting washed and dressed, ask your council for a care needs assessment. This is also free.
Who will help me decide?
An occupational therapist will visit you at home and assess your needs. Based on the assessment and what you tell them, the OT will recommend equipment and adaptations to make your life easier. You may also be able to get help with costs.
A care needs assessment may be carried out by a social worker. They may find that you are eligible for additional support services, such as visiting carers.
If you’re in hospital
Before you go home, the OT in the hospital might assess you and decide that some adaptations are needed so you can return home safely. These adaptations should be made before you are discharged.
If you need a larger piece of equipment or adaptation, they might refer you to the OT at your local social services department who will assess you at home.
You may have to buy some very small aids yourself, such as kettle tippers. You can use the self-assessment website, askSARA to find out about the sort of equipment that is available and details of suppliers.
Help with specific needs
Some organisations, such as the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), Action on Hearing Loss or Sense, may be able to provide more in-depth advice about technology or adaptations to help with your specific needs, for example if you are losing your sight or your hearing or you have problems with memory loss. They offer equipment assessment services in some areas, in partnership with local authorities and community groups.
You can find contact details for your local council on gov.uk/find-your-local-council
The Disability Living Foundation http://www.dlf.org.uk/ provides advice and information on independent living.