An older man sitting at a kitchen table

We all want to stay in our homes for as long as we can, so it's important to look at things you can do and equipment to install to help you keep independent for as long as possible.

In the bathroom

1. Removable bath boards

Removable bath boards provide a seated platform area over the bath, you sit on the board and turn to sit over the bath. If you experience difficulty stepping in/out of the bath it may be safer to transfer by using the board than by trying to step over the rim.

However, you still need to raise your legs over the bath rim, or have assistance to do this from a carer.

Find out more about bath boards from the DLF website

In the kitchen

2. Food preparation boards

The design of these boards varies, they may have a clamp system to either stabilise food when you’re cutting it or to secure bottles and tins when you're opening them. They may also have spikes to secure fruit or vegetables when you’re cutting or peeling them, most have a non-slip base.

 Find out more about food preparation boards from DLF

Around the home

3. Newel rails

You may already have a banister rail, and even a matching wall mounted rail on the other side of your stairs but is there anything to hold onto at the turn in the stairs? Newel rails are designed to be installed on the newel post and turn through 90 degrees around the post giving you a continuous hand rail as your turn the corner.

Find out more about newel rails on the DLF website

4. Commode

If you are struggling to get to the toilet in another part of your home you could consider a commode.

There are a wide range of commodes available including metal framed, plastic frame, wooden frame, cane commodes and armchair style commodes so you should find one to suit your home.

Folding commodes are also available that can be stored away when not in use.

Find out more about commode chairs on the DLF website

5. Remote control plugs and lighting

Plug sockets are often mounted low on the wall near the floor. If you are regularly turning a low socket on/off then you may find it easier, and safer to add a remote control socket that you can turn on/off from your armchair.

Remote control adaptors are also available for light sockets, with the receiver installed between the bulb and the fitting.

Find out more about remote control plugs on the DLF website

If you have low vision

6. Clocks and watches

A range of clocks and watches are available including clocks and watches with clear bold displays, talking clocks/watches and clocks and watches with a tactile face (you can feel the hands and position of dial markers).

Find out more about large-face clocks and watches from DLF

7. Labelling systems

The devices in this section have a portable reader/scanner. When this is used to touch small labels or cards which you have attached to items the reader automatically plays back your associated pre-recorded messages. Alternatively, some will scan an item's barcode and state what the item is.

Get more information on labelling systems from DLF

If you have difficulty hearing

8. Home sound indicators

These are a range of products designed to let someone who is hard of hearing, or deaf, know that certain sound events are happening in their home.

This may include the phone ringing, the door bell, or smoke alarm. Some indicators flash a strobe or the house lights, others vibrate a pager, worn by the user.

Find out more about help for hearing from the DLF website

9. Medication management

A range of gadgets are available to help you manage your medication

Dosett boxes help you to arrange your medication which may make it easier to keep track of what you’ve taken. Some have a clock with alarms that can be set to remind you when the medication is due.

Medication dispensers can be set up to sound an alarm when the medication is due and then offer the due medication, the next dose is not available until it’s due. If you have difficulty getting tablets out of the blister pack aids are available, as are pill splitters and pill crushers.

More about gadgets to help manage your medication from DLF

Obtaining help

10. Home alarms and pagers

If you don’t live on your own, and may need a method to tell your carer/relative that you need help when they’re in another part of your home you could consider a home pager.

They are available with a portable pendant worn by the user and pager worn by the carer.

If the user presses the button on the pendant the pager bleeps or vibrates to alert the carer, even if they’re in the garden. If you do live on your own consider a telecare alarm system or autodialler.

More about home alarms and pagers from the DLF website

Help with repairs and adaptations

You may be able to get specialist equipment or to have your home adapted by the local authority following an assessment of needs. This might be part of a wider package of care and support provided by the local authority.

More about financial help with repairs and adaptations

Equipment and adaptations under £1,000 must be provided free of charge by the local authority and more expensive adaptations are means tested under the Disabled Facilities Grant system.

Further information

Downloads

Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Information sheets and factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 6565