As we grow older, a house that we once loved to live in may become difficult to negotiate. The stairs are a common problems but even just a few awkward steps to the garden can also be problematic. And managing the garden itself – once an enjoyable past time – can become a huge burden. In a place where you once felt safe and secure you may not feel safe anymore as the risk of falls as we get older becomes a real problem.
A home can change into somewhere no longer suited to living as an older person, which is why home adaptations are often desirable to enable you to stay in your home safely and happily. Changes can enable you to opt for home care services rather than moving to a residential care home. This is often a more cost effective approach because of the high cost of care home fees.
If you are considering adapting you home to be better suited to your care needs as you get older, consider the following:
- Easy Access – Getting into your home safely through the main entrance door and also to and from the garden might require a ramp, hand rails and additional lighting.
- Bathroom & Toilet – You may need a walk in shower with a wide entrance and a secure seat if you have difficulty walking and standing. You may also need a toilet with support rails around it.
- Accessing upper floors – A stair lift or internal lift can help you get up and down the stairs safely so that you can still use upper floors and one or other can usually be fitted in most houses.
- Kitchen – Even if you have a live-in carer or use home care services where someone comes into the home to help prepare meals you may still want to be able to prepare simple snacks like a sandwich. In that case you may have to lower the height of the worktops. This is especially true if you have to use a wheelchair.
The Cost Of Adapting Your Home
Adapting your home is going to cost money but so also does moving to a more suitable house so you will have to consider your own personal preference and individual circumstances. And there are cost effective ways to make alterations and often financial help available for some of the changes such as ramps and handrails.
Contact the local social services department to find out what financial or practical assistance you are eligible for when it comes to making your home safer. You will then have a better idea of whether you can continue to live there safely.
If you need to make larger alterations such as adding a ground floor bedroom and wet room then you may be entitled to a grant. Although bear in mind that you will have less freedom over the type of adaptation if you don’t pay for it yourself.
There are also charities that can help with both advice and potential sources of funding so talk to someone like Age UK as a starting point.
It might seem a daunting prospect with lots of upheaval to alter your home but if it helps you stay in your own home rather than go into a care home then it is worth it for a better quality of life. Remember you can get good care in your own home – are homes are not the only option.