It’s no secret – and no shame – that many of us need more physical help around the house when we get older. Whether you’re approaching your later years and are looking to future-proof your home for potential issues, or you’re planning on bringing an elderly parent back home to live with you for ease of care, it can be hard to know where to start to make your property safer and more accessible.
Depending on the needs of the people involved, transforming your home in this way may not be a trivial expense – but if changes are required, there often isn’t a choice in the matter. You may wish to consider using a home improvement loan as a means to finance your home renovations, this can help you to break down the total cost into smaller monthly repayments. However, you should always ensure you have the means to pay back the loan, checking the interest rate and terms of the loan so you know that it is a viable option.
In certain cases, you can reach out for government help to get the changes you need for you home. By contacting your local council you can apply for funding for these types of changes. If you live in the UK, then your local council will usually provide minor changes costing less than £1000 free of charge after qualifying for needing the adaptation. For major changes you will need to apply for a disabled facilities grant where you can receive up to £30,000 for home adaptations to make your home more accessible.
Here are just a few improvements that you might need to put into place to make your home more suitable for elderly or disabled residents or guests.
The older your property, the less likely that wheelchair accessibility was considered when installing doors – and the very first thing that you’ll need if you’re going to live in a building is the ability to enter it. If your doorways are too narrow, you’ll have no choice but to remodel them.
If your front or back doors are only accessible from the road by steps, a wheelchair user will find it very difficult to come and go. It’s possible to install a suitable ramp without breaking the bank; as with all of the changes mentioned here, make sure to consult with the relative in question as to what specific needs must be met with the construction.
Bath lift or walk-in shower
Bathroom accessibility is a high priority – we all want to maintain our dignity so it’s important to make all your residents feel safe and secure here. If your current setup requires someone to step over the side of a bath in order to take a shower, you may need to reassess. A lift to help residents climb into the bath or a walk-in shower to enable a smooth entrance could be vital.
If you have a lot of carpeted flooring in your home and are about to welcome a wheelchair user, you should consider replacing it with a friendlier surface. Wooden flooring offers the least resistance for wheelchair movement – and make sure to keep it as tidy as possible, too, to reduce blockages.
Sometimes we all need a bit of support to move ourselves around properly. Grab bars make it easier for people to manoeuvre without needing to rely on other people’s help, especially in the bathroom. You can install permanent ones or even find temporary, detachable options to accommodate guests.
Make a clear path
Take a look around the hallways and corridors of your home – is there enough space to manoeuvre? Large pieces of furniture might need to be rearranged so that wheelchair users can easily get from room to room.
Install a stairlift
Particularly if your elderly or disabled relative will be living upstairs, this is an important step. Falling down the stairs can be extremely dangerous so, if attempting to walk up them carries a high risk, it’s much better to remove that risk by providing a reliable alternative.