Home adaptations for the elderly to improve independent living

The home can become a challenge to your ageing parent, they will become less able to do things the way they used to due to becoming more elderly,  or when the home needs to be more accessible due to an illness or injury. There are some home adaptations for the elderly that can make things much easier, while improving quality of life, promoting their independence and feelings of well-being.

Some of the typical things that one might need adaptations to help with are:

  • Moving around the bathroom safely
  • Answering the door
  • Getting up and down the stairs
  • Using the kitchen and equipment safely
  • Moving about within your home
  • Getting in and out of your home

Funding for home adaptations

When your ageing parent is becoming elderly and frail, is disabled, or has a long-term health condition such as dementia, and they need some help to retain their independence for longer, some simple home adaptions can help. This means that they can ask for a needs assessment by their Local Authority. A needs assessment will determine how much, if any funding will be available, and what equipment is required to help.

The financial help that may be available depends on whether the adaptations you need to make to your home are minor or major.

  • Minor adaptations includes home adaptions such as fitting lever taps in the kitchen, or hand rails in the bathroom, and other relevant places in the home.
  • Major adaptations includes adaptions like installing a downstairs shower room, widening doorways for mobility aides, installing a stair lift.

Minor adaptions, while the cost is under £1,000 will be provided by the Local Authority. Sometimes, the smallest of adaptions can make a huge difference.

Major adaptions are means tested, however you may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant. You can ask the Local Authority about this.

Here’s a quick video guide from Independent Age on Home Adaptions.

Quick wins

Falls in the elderly are one of the most common accident and emergency admissions. Approximately one in three adults over the age of 65 who live at home may experience at least one fall a year, and about half of these will fall more frequently.

Some simple quick home adaptions can be made to prevent this risk. Hand rails/grabs are the most common quick win to help an ageing parent feel more comfortable getting up and down in the bathroom, or in and out of the home.

Something to help them get up and down from seating such as an armchair or sofa will also be beneficial, most commonly used is a chair that has an electric control, allowing the person the recline, and then reach a more upward position for standing.

Kitchen equipment can often cause injuries, so it is also worth looking at kitchen and cooking gadgets.

Handy gadgets

Gadgets can really help to make things easier. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding some everyday task that used to be easy, to be an absolute struggle and waste of precious energy.

There are lots of gadgets on the market now, it’s quite possible to become swamped in them. Select the ones that will add the most value. Some gadgets can be great gifts for your elderly parents too. Gadgets can help with:

  • Reaching things; from high shelves, or picking things up from the floor which can significantly reduce falls
  • Kitchen aides to help with opening cans, bottles
  • Cooking gadgets like plate holders, chopping gadgets, liquid level indicators
  • Bathing aides; bath cushions, and stools, tap turners, grab rails
  • Toilet aides
  • Loud ring telephones with large buttons
  • Large button remote controls for the television
  • Reading aides such as magnifiers and lights
  • Gardening gadgets
  • Robot vacuum cleaners
  • Robot window cleaners

There is much to choose from and by chatting with your parent, you may be able to discover what might help make things easier.

Longer term considerations

If your parent is still living in a large family home, if they are not already finding it difficult to maintain it and stay independent, they are likely to in the future. It may be worth considering downsizing and choosing a more suitable accommodation type such as a bungalow, or retirement apartment.

If you are at the stage of getting early home adaptions for lighter help, it is worth having a chat about what your parents want longer term.

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