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Adaptations and equipment to make home tasks easier

If you want to stay independent in your own home for longer, there are adaptations that could make your everyday life easier. 

What home adaptations and equipment could make my life easier?

There’s a wide range of adaptations and equipment that could make your everyday life easier. Here are just a few examples to consider to give you an idea of what’s available:

I need help accessing my home

Why not consider:

  • A ramp or hand rails for the front door
  • Outdoor lights for better visibility

I need help moving around my home

Why not consider:

  • A stairlift or wheelchair lift
  • Grab rails or a second bannister
  • Newel rails to help you turn the corner around the stair post
  • Repositioning or widening doors for wheelchair access

I need help with bathing

Why not consider:

  • A shower seat or bath lift
  • A level access shower
  • A removable bath board to help you in and out of the bath
  • Flood detectors

I need help in the kitchen

Why not consider:

  • A kettle tipper
  • Cupboards with pull-out shelves for easy access
  • A one-handed chopping board
  • A board with a clamp to secure bottles and tins as you open them
  • A wheelchair accessible sink

I need help getting up

Why not consider:

  • A rising or reclining chair
  • Hoists to help you get in and out of bed

I have low vision

Why not consider:

  • Clocks or watches with a clear and bold or tactile display
  • Talking clocks or watches
  • Portable scanners to read labels or barcodes on items aloud

I have difficulty hearing

Why not consider:

  • A pager that vibrates when the phone or doorbell rings
  • Indicators which flash lights when the smoke alarm sounds

I’m worried about falls and safety

Why not consider:

  • A personal alarm
  • Pressure sensors
  • Gas and carbon monoxide detectors Remote control plugs and lighting, so you don’t have to bend down to switch plugs on and off

I need help managing my medicines

Why not consider:

  • Medication dispensers which sound an alarm and dispense your medication when it’s due
  • Dosette boxes which help you to arrange your medication and keep track of when it’s due

Home Improvement Grants

Home Improvement Grants are available through the Housing Executive.

For adaptations that cost more than £1,000, you may qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). A DFG can be used to cover a wide range of adaptations that enable you to get in and out of your home, move around, and use your facilities.

Both homeowners and tenants can get a DFG. It’s means-tested, and there’s an upper limit on the amount you can get, although local authorities may agree to top this up in some circumstances. If you’re a council tenant, the council should pay for major adaptations that you’ve been assessed as needing.

Read more on the Housing Executive website

What do I do if I cannot get a home improvement grant?

If you aren’t eligible for a home improvement grant, you can still obtain free information and advice - for example, about where to buy equipment.

If you need to get your own equipment:

  • You can ask private agencies or local voluntary organisations what they offer.
  • If you want to get advice from a private occupational therapist, search the Royal College of Occupational Therapists website. 

Ask your local council if there is a handyperson service in your area. They could help with small repairs, such as fitting rails.

Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs)

There may be a Home Improvement Agency (HIA) in your area that can help you at home. These are not-for-profit organisations that help owner-occupiers or tenants of private rented accommodation who are older, disabled or on low incomes to repair, improve or adapt their homes.

They offer practical help with tasks such as arranging a survey, getting estimates for work, or accessing financial help. 

Read about HIAs in Northern Ireland

What should I do next?

  • Arrange a health and social care assessment with the social services department of your local trust
  • Contact the Age NI Advice service for further help

Age NI Advice Service

Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.

Call freephone 0808 808 7575
Monday - Friday 9am – 5pm 

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All the information and advice we provide on the website is free and completely independent, as is our Advice Line that is open 365 days a year.

But demand is going up. We are an ageing population and more people than ever are coming to us for support, which is why we need to ask for help.

If you are able to, just a small gift today could help us reach even more older people wherever the need is greatest.

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Last updated: Jan 16 2024

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