Creating an independent home

Guinness Care News Article - 29 June 2018
Creating an independent home

If you, or a loved one, are finding it harder to carry out everyday tasks at home, you might consider going into sheltered accommodation or looking into care home providers. But if you’re planning to stay in your own home, making some adaptations can help you live there independently for longer.  You may be eligible for adaptations or equipment from your local Council. This article will discuss some of the things that could help you with this.

What adaptions do I need?

The first thing to consider is what you might be starting to struggle with in your everyday tasks. Some adaptations within your home would help you stay independent for longer. There are many interventions available that could make your everyday life easier, depending on what you need help with. These can be large-scale adaptations or smaller changes or equipment.

Adjustable Beds may be helpful where it has become difficult to get in and out of bed, turn over, sit upright or even simply get comfortable.

Riser Recliner Chairs make getting into, or out of, a chair less of a challenge as you get older. Riser recliner chairs make a huge difference, and can give you a real sense of reassurance as you are remaining independent in your own home.

Stair lifts can be a big contributor in staying safe and independent at home. Many people only realise how useful a stair lift really is after they decide to have one installed.

Other Types of Adaptations

There are many other adaptations you can make to your home to support you and help maintain your independence. These include:

  • Widening doorways and passageways
  • Installing grab rails around the house for support
  • Installing ramps
  • Locating bedroom or bathroom facilities at ground-floor level
  • Adapting bathroom facilities
  • Moving light switches, door handles and door bells to more convenient heights

Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)

A DFG can be awarded by your local council if you have a disability and need to adapt your home to continue living there. You could use a DFG to make it easier to get in and out of your home by, for example, installing external stair rails or a ramp.

You can apply if you have:

  • significant hearing issues
  • sight or speech issues
  • a mental disability or disorder
  • a physical disability
  • Registered (or could register) with your local Council’s Adult Social Care Department as disabled

The maximum grant available in England is £30,000. Follow the link for more information on the application process:

Other things to consider

If you feel you need help with personal care, such as getting washed and dressed, ask your local Council for a needs assessment.  This will look at how you are managing everyday activities, household tasks and getting out and about.  This may be carried out by a Social Worker or other care professional, and assessment may find that you are eligible for additional support services such as visits from carers or attendance at a local day centre.

Useful Contacts

Foundations is the national body for home improvement agencies, and is appointed by the Department of Communities and Local Government to oversee a national network of nearly 200 home improvement agencies (HIAs) and Handyperson providers across England.

Home improvement agencies are available in many areas of the UK.  They have staff who can help you to decide what changes you might benefit from, help to arrange money to pay for any work and organise the work itself. Your local council social services department will be able to tell you if there is a home improvement agency in your area and how to contact them.

You can also ask your local Social Services Department if there is a Handyperson Service in your area to undertake basic repairs, plumbing, DIY, gardening and electrical work, either for free or for a small fee.