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If you are struggling to move around your home or do all the things you used to, it may be prudent to look into completing some disability home improvements. There are many potential changes that can be made to your property depending on what you need. We’ll be exploring the various options available in this article.

It is impossible to underestimate the value of such adaptations in terms of their worth to you, rather than in a financial sense. In many cases one or more adaptations (whether minor or major in nature) could make the difference between and help you live a more independent lifestyle.

What types of adaptations are available?

disabled bathroomEveryone has different requirements when it comes to the types of adaptations that can be made. For instance wheelchair users will likely need ramps and they may also benefit from lower work surfaces in the kitchen so they can reach everything more easily.

Essentially all adaptations fall into one of two categories:

  • Major work – this work generally involves building work and alterations to the property. Examples include building an extension and putting in a ground floor toilet.

    Image source – www.showerremodel.org

  • disability ramp

  • Minor work – this area encompasses all the smaller jobs that don’t take as long to complete. For example you might have grab rails installed to make using the bathroom easier. Another example would be installing a ramp so you can manoeuvre a wheelchair from outside into your home without tackling any steps.
  • Image source – www.gscarpentryandconstruction.co.uk

    In contrast other people will be more mobile but they may not have enough strength to do everything safely. In this situation they may benefit from grab rails in the bathroom and other similar adaptations that will give them more stability, support and confidence. Grab rails are fairly cheap and easy to install but they can make a world of difference to those who use them.

    stannah stair liftsAnother typical example of a popular installation is of course the stair lift. They come in a variety of styles and designs for different people and budgets. In many cases they are fixed to the stairs rather than the walls for safety reasons. In addition you can purchase them for straight or curved staircases to suit your particular home design.

    The most appropriate way to get started is to think about what you struggle to do each day. Is there a particular room you have trouble accessing or tasks you can’t perform as easily anymore? For some people it will be getting in and out of their property that is the biggest challenge.

    Make a list of the things you have trouble with and keep this close by. It will help you when you start finding out more information about what you can do.

    Where can you get advice from?

    When you realise you would benefit from some home adaptations your next step is to get some advice about what is possible. There are several good sources of information in this respect.

    getting advice

    For example Age UK, a charity working in support of the elderly, has some extensive information on ways your home can be adapted. This includes sections on receiving financial help as well as the kinds of disability equipment that can be found. You can find a particularly useful section on their website at here.

    In addition you can use the official government website www.gov.uk, which has lots of information and advice on this topic. Read more here.

    Can you get financial help and support to assist in adapting your home?

    Yes, it is possible to receive financial help if you could benefit from making some adaptations. The situation varies depending on whether you need minor or major alterations and where in the country you live. For example the current situation in England is that any minor adaptations and/or equipment you need that you are eligible to have and costs less than £1,000 will be granted free.

    You will need to be assessed and approved for it however. In contrast the limit in Scotland is currently £1,500. In Wales you might need to contribute a reasonable amount that will not put pressure on your finances, while in Northern Ireland the decision on whether they or you will pay will be made by the local trust.

    benefits for the disabled

    In terms of major adaptations there is another route to go down. This involves applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Before any such grant is given to an individual they will be assessed by a professional to see whether the adaptations are necessary. If they are the grant is approved and calculated according to the individual’s financial circumstances. Again the maximum amounts differ depending on where you live in the UK.

    They vary from £25,000 in Northern Ireland to £36,000 in Wales. English applicants who are successful may get a maximum of £30,000 while the amount can vary considerably if you live in Scotland.

    However even if you find you are rejected by the official channels all is not lost. You can still try to get help from a variety of charities that fund individuals and help them improve their lives. The ACT Foundation provides grants for many people in these kinds of situations, so if you cannot get help through the most familiar and official channels this might be worth a try.

    You don’t know if you don’t ask

    The first step is always to assess what kinds of adaptations you need in order to make your daily life much easier to live. By making a list of the areas you struggle with you can better identify whether you need minor or major adaptations and apply for the appropriate help.

    finding local services

    Remember – your life could be made much easier simply by making a few changes to your home. There are several sources of help and advice out there and you could become far more knowledgeable about your situation and the potential to make changes simply by doing some research. Why not begin now and see where it leads you?