If you or a member of your family find yourself with less mobility than you once had, having a home that’s not quite so suited is going to impact on your quality of life. You’re faced with a couple of options. You either look for somewhere more suitable, or you look into making changes where you currently live. This brings certain new challenges, for example, where to begin and how to fund the changes. The following tips will make things quicker and easier.
What Adaptions Might You Need to Make?
Whether it’s because you’re getting older or need to adapt your home because a family member has a disability, there is a range of adaptions you can make. The most common include:
- Widening doors and passageways
- Moving light switches and changing door handles
- Adding grab rails
- Various bathroom alterations such as a bath with a hoist raised toilet, sit in bath
- Installing ramps instead of steps
- Installing a stair lift such as the Harmony Unenclosed Wheelchair Through Floor Lift
- Setting up alert devices
- Purchasing specialised furniture
Planning the Adaptions
If you need any kind of advice or help deciding which adaptions to make, you can consult an occupational therapist who will assess your daily needs and advise accordingly. Other health professionals may be able to advise you as well, based on your short-term and long-term needs. An occupational therapist can also arrange a free assessment, the outcome of which will determine whether you can get any financial assistance for the adaptations. Adaptions fall into one of two categories: minor and major adaptions. If either is deemed reasonable and practical, you may be able to apply for a grant. If you live in council housing, the adaptions will be done for free.
If you haven’t got the funds to pay for the adaptions a ‘means tested’ Disabled Facilities Grant may be available to fund major adaptions, above £5,000. The grant is available for homeowners, housing association tenants, and private tenants. Adaptions below this amount may qualify for a ‘non-means tested’ Discretionary Adaption Grant. If you want to apply for a grant, it has to be approved before work starts so bear this in mind.
It is possible to apply for the grant if yourself or someone else living in your home is disabled. It’s also possible for a landlord to apply for the grant to adapt a property for a disabled tenant.
With any building work, especially if changes are being made to the exterior of your property, you may also have to apply for planning permissions or buildings regulation approval. This is a separate process to applying for a grant. If you’re awarded a grant, you may be required to employ a qualified architect or surveyor to ensure the work is done properly, which can be paid for from the grant.
Should you be refused a Disabilities Facility Grant don’t panic because there is an appeal process you can go through. You first appeal to your local council, and if that’s not effective, you can register a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman.