For a lot of people, the standard home can be an extremely challenging place to live in. Steps to the front door, lots of stairs, high work surfaces and poorly thought-out bathroom layouts can cause all manner of difficulties if you’ve got a disability.
Regardless of whether you’ve always been disabled or have seen life change dramatically as a result of an accident or illness, you shouldn’t worry about the cost of remodelling your home because, in many cases, you can apply for government funding.
Home Adaptations You May Consider
There are a large variety of adaptations you can consider if you need to make life a little easier. All of the following can be considered for grants, so it’s worthwhile taking the time to plan just what you’ll need.
- Access To and Around Your Home
Being able to access all parts of your home is extremely important, and there are a number of products that can help. Stair lifts, mobility aids and grab rails will allow you to reach the second floor of your home and move around safely. Meanwhile, doors can be widened or repositioned if you’re in a wheelchair. Outside, lighting can provide better visibility, whilst ramps and handrails can help you get to the front door.
- Kitchen Access
If you’re disabled, a standard kitchen can be difficult to use. However, cupboards can have pull-out shelves and worktops can be lowered for easier access. Kettle tippers and one-handed chopping boards are readily available, and wheelchair accessible sinks can be installed.
- Using the Bathroom
Bathrooms can be a notorious problem if you’re disabled. However, a walk-in bath, shower seat or bath lift can all provide independence. In addition, you can have flood detectors fitted so that if something does go wrong, you have a failsafe.
- Increased Safety
Finally, it’s important to think about the safety aspects of your home, especially if moving around is hard. A personal alarm, pressure sensors, gas detectors and carbon monoxide alarms can all be fitted.
Free Support from Social Services
For a lot of the cheaper solutions, and certainly those costing under £1,000, social services may well provide them for free as long as you’re eligible and have been assessed. Simply contact your local social services and they’ll start the process.
Government Disability Grants
Some of the larger changes – fitting a stair lift or having a ramp built outside your front door, for example – can be quite expensive. For these, you might need to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Provided by the government, you’ll need to apply to your local council’s housing department for the financial support. Many councils will need you to have an assessment by social services first. You should also be aware that grants of this kind are means-tested, so any assets, capital and income you have will affect how much of the grant you can claim.
Home Improvement Agencies
If you’re unable to claim a grant, you might be able to get some help and support from one of the many home improvement agencies (HIA’s). These not-for-profit companies normally help more vulnerable residents, such as those who are disabled, older or who are struggling on low incomes. They’re also able to help tenants as well as homeowners.
There are many benefits of using a HIA. For example, they’ll normally arrange a home survey to assess your needs, help gather quotes and talk through the various ways you can access financial help.
Do it Yourself
Obviously, there’s a limit on the DIY you can do if you’re disabled. However, if you don’t qualify for a grant and need some extensive remodelling done, there are various ways to keep the costs down. Firstly, try and rally support from friends and family who might be able to come and do some of the work for you; you never know – you might discover your aunt’s best friend is a builder and is willing to donate some of their time.
When you’re buying materials and products, such as a new walk-in bath, for example, make sure you shop around. Some independent stores even offer discounts for the elderly or disabled, so it’s worthwhile asking about these. It’s also essential to keep your build costs low. To do this, use a website like Quotatis to gather quotes. Not only will you be able to get some reasonable quotes, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re hiring trusted and reliable contractors.
Overall, if you need changes to your home because you’re disabled, the first step should be to contact social services. They can assess your needs and then point you in the right direction for funding, helping you live a more independent life without having to break the bank.