Whats in this section?
Whats in this section?
Managing your home
If you or a family member have a disability, home adaptations such as equipment can make life easier both now and later on.
Having home adaptations installed can be daunting, especially if you’re hiring someone to do jobs you previously did yourself. However, there are reliable tradespeople available.
If you are eligible for council support, following a care assessment, they may be able to help with minor adaptations.
What are Disabled Facilities Grants and how do I get one?
Disabled Facilities Grant (or DFG’s) are available from your Local Authority. DFG’s can be used to pay for home adaptations to support disabled people to stay in their own homes.
Adaptations could include widening of doorways; installing ramps; improving access to facilities and rooms, adapting heating and lighting to be more accessible; stairlifts and more.
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if you or someone living in your home is disabled, and you are the owner, tenant or landlord of the property. Be aware if you are a tenant in a rented property, you can apply for one of these grants, but only with the landlord’s permission.
DFG applications are handled by either the housing or environmental health department at your local council. They will task an Occupational Therapist (OT) with conducting an assessment of the disabled person’s needs (assuming they have not already had one).
Once the OT has established the disabled person’s needs, They will identify equipment or adaptations that would be appropriate.
The OT will then present their findings back to the council for a schedule of work to be approved (be aware the council may want structural surveys or planning permission for larger-scale changes). They must make a decision within 6 months. Once approved the council will then appoint a contractor to do the work.
The maximum amount for a Disabled Facilities Grant is:
£30,000 in England
£25,000 in Northern Ireland
£36,000 in Wales
Disabled Facilities Grants are means-tested. They take into account your savings, income and outgoings, therefore the amount you receive depends on your circumstances.
DFG’s are not means-tested for families with a disabled child or children under the age of 19.
If the total cost of the work is above the maximum grant, your local authority has the discretion to provide further funds.
Depending on your circumstances you may be able to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Find more information on these and apply directly on the GOV.UK website here.
Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs)
Home Improvement Agencies are non-profit organisations funded by either local authorities or central Government.
HIAs work professionally with older and disabled homeowners, providing advice, support and assistance to help them adapt their home to meet their changing needs.
Most HIAs provide three main services:
- Information and advice on repairs or adaptations you may be considering. This usually entails a visit to your home, and is often free.
- A ‘handy person service’ for small jobs and repairs. Typically the HIA will employ its own handyperson or handyman, and charge you an hourly rate for their services.
- A ‘home adaptations service’ for more major works. The HIA will work with you to specify the adaptations needed, and they will normally offer to get estimates from one or more of their regular contractors. Subject to your acceptance, the HIA will then offer to manage the works contract for you for an agreed fee.
HIA’s may be helpful if you are not sure you can afford the home adaptations or repairs you need.
In addition HIA’s can advise on your eligibility for grants, and if necessary put you in touch with independent financial advisers.
Finding a contractor
Buy with confidence provides details of local, reliable and reputable contractors to carry out housing repairs and maintenance.
Telecare (Assistive Technologies)
Assistive technology (Telecare) is equipment that can detect falls, inactivity, smoke, flooding, gas or extreme temperatures in the home.
Telecare device alerts are triggered by sensors in the home. They are received either by:
- trained operators at a 24-hour call centre
- or directly by a relative or carer.
Some devices can also help monitor particular health conditions and reduce the need for hospital admissions.
Telecare home adaptations can help users remain independent, leaving relatives and carers safe in the knowledge that should an incident occur, they will know about it.
Telecare can help restore confidence for people who feel vulnerable in their own homes for a variety of reasons – whether this is due to living alone, frailty or the need to summon help in an emergency.
These devices can be used either as:
- A short-term measure during a period of convalescence
- Or for on-going peace of mind.
You can nominate a relative, carer, neighbour or friend to be a responder. As a responder, they need to be able to get to the location of the alarm if the response centre contacts them. They must be able to take appropriate action and live within a reasonable distance.
You can buy telecare and assistive technology from private companies and organisations. Alternatively, if you’re eligible through an assessment your local council may be able to provide it for you.