Social care and support guide
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Home adaptations are changes you can make to your home. These make it safer and easier to move around and do everyday tasks.
Your local council offers a service that assesses your home and recommends changes to help. Having a home assessment is free.
These changes can be small or big and include:
- fitting a stairlift or a banister on the stairs
- adding a bath lift, walk-in shower or a rail you hold to pull yourself out of the bath (grab rail)
- widening doorways
- lowering kitchen worktops
- putting in an outdoor ramp or step rail
- security, such as outside lights and intercom systems
The assessment might also recommend household equipment and gadgets to make life easier.
How to get a home assessment
If you, or someone you know, needs help to do everyday tasks or you're worried about falling, ask social services for a home assessment.
You can call your local council or do it online.
What happens during the assessment
An occupational therapist will visit you at your home. They'll ask you questions and walk around with you to see what you struggle with. You'll work out what you need together.
Make sure you tell them everything you find difficult, even small things such as opening a cupboard.
Assessments usually take at least an hour.
You might also be referred for a needs assessment to see if you could benefit from extra help at home.
Have someone with you
Ask a friend or relative to be with you. It might help if you're not confident explaining your situation. They can also take notes for you.
You can use an advocate if you can't get a friend or relative. These are people who sit with you during an assessment and speak for you. They can also help you fill in forms. They're often free. Find an advocate in your area.
Get help with costs of home adaptions
Small adaptations are often free
Your council should pay for each adaptation that costs less than £1,000. This usually includes things such as:
- grab rails
- a concrete ramp or steps
- lights that come on when someone is at your front door
You might be able to get help with costs
For expensive adaptations, like fitting a wet room or widening doors, you can try to get a grant from:
A Home Improvement Agency (HIA) can help you find schemes to help with the cost of adaptations. Find out if there's an HIA in your area.
Some local councils might be able to help with the cost of urgent home alterations. Check with your council or HIA.
Further help and advice
- Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) gives free advice about home adaptation
- Independent Age has advice on home adaptation
- The Money Advice Service has advice about shopping around for disability aids and equipment
How to complain about a home assessment
If you're not happy about your home assessment, you have a right to complain.
First complain to your local council. It should have a formal complaints procedure on its website.
If you're not happy with the way the council handles your complaint, contact the local government and social care ombudsman. This is an independent person who looks into complaints about organisations.
Page last reviewed: 08/08/2018
Next review due: 08/08/2021