Restricted mobility, and disability, can be a challenge from day one, especially in the home. Adapting your home for disability may take some time to iron out the creases, and is very personal to the resident based on type and severity of the disability, but will almost always save you money over moving house. We’ve put together some general ideas for making your home more mobility friendly, whether it is for future proofing your own home, or for your disabled family and friends.
Gartec took part in Wheels at Work, run by local charity, Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research, to get a better understanding of the difficulties of being in a wheelchair. The tips below cover some of the tasks that we found tricky, and how to overcome them.
Generally, disability adaptation options are either considered major or minor changes, with a variety of funding and support available for both types. Minor changes tend to be valued under £1000 – there is more information about funding at the end.
For bespoke equipment and solutions, Remap are a fantastic charity that focus on bringing skilled volunteers and disability requirements together.
Grants and Funding for Disability Adaptations
There are a host of grants and help available for disability adaptations and raising money for them. Remember that applying for grants, support and adaptations will be different dependent on the results of your Care Needs Assessment (from the council) and whether you own, rent, or are part of a housing association. Generally changes to housing association properties will not have a cost to the homeowner. Some of them are listed below – please click on the links for more information.
Start off by getting a Care Needs Assessment (through your local council) to determine what you are eligible for. They can also help with suggestions of what you need.
Please note that this list is not comprehensive and is just for inspiration and general information.
- Disabled Facilities Grant (for major and minor changes funding)
- Home Improvement Agencies (support & advice for adaptations)
- Charity Support (e.g. ACT Foundation)
- Turn2Us (search tool for grants)
- Council Tax Reductions (through your local council)
- Disability Benefits
- Council-run ‘Meals on Wheels’ (meal delivery)
- VAT Relief claims (don’t pay VAT to your builder)
And of course if you are disabled and looking to get back to work to raise money yourself, the government provides great advice.
Home Adaptation Ideas for Disability and Restricted Movement
Accessing your Home with Disabilities
- Adding a ground floor toilet, shower or wet room
- Creating a ground floor extension
- Changing heating, lighting and other basic controls to be easier to reach or use
- Remote controls for low or high plug sockets, or moving plug sockets
Safety Adaptations for Disability
- Event alarms (light or sound based alert when event occurs such as smoke alarm or door bell)
- Door intercom or videophone
- Spare key safe at front entrance (the police can give advice around this)
- Handrail for any steps
- Grab rail if door has a lip
- Wheelchair platform lift, step lift or ramp if there is a step up to a doorway
- Motion sensing or timed light to illuminate entranceway
- Reduced height steps
- Install a stair lift, through the floor lift, or home platform lift
- Install hand rails
- Install corner/turn grab rails
- Enhanced lighting in stairwells
Living Room Adaptations for Restricted Movement
- Recliner chairs or chair raisers
- Wheeled chairs and tables
- Wide doorways
- Tailored or custom remote controls
- Lever taps
- Specialised cutlery (wide or longer handles, shaped and bespoke cutlery)
- Cooking tools such as one-handed chopping boards or spike boards
- Pouring aids
- Lower kitchen worktops and sinks, or have changeable height worktops
- Widen doorways
- Cupboards with shelves that pull out to help reaching for shelves
- Labelling systems (with reader for those with poor eyesight, the reader vocalises the pre-recorded item description)
- Perching stools
Bedroom Design for the Disabled
- Harness, straps or rails for safety and comfort
- Adjustable height bed or bed raisers
- Wide doorways
- Touch-base or clap control lighting
- Hoists and slide sheets for moving those with severe disability
Bathroom Changes for Restricted Mobility Users
- Bath lift, transfer board, hoists or walk in bath
- Widen doorways
- Flood detectors
- Lowered sinks
- “Hands Free” toilet
- Toilet frame or raised toilet seat
Don’t forget that other disability adaptation options, such as specialised car seating and wheelchair suitable vehicles, may be useful too.