Age NI uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our policy. To read more about how we use cookies and how you control them. Read our cookie policy
Skip to content
Please donate

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

Can I get help from my local council to pay for equipment and home adaptations?

Small adaptations and equipment

Some equipment and adaptations may be provided by your local council. Once you have had your care needs assessment, your local authority will make recommendations on what equipment, adaptations, care and additional support you need.

If you haven’t yet had a care needs assessment, you may want to read our overview of the process of getting help from the local authority first.

  • Specialist disability equipment that has been recommended by the local council will be provided free of charge.
  • Any minor home adaptations costing less than £1,000 are free if they have been recommended by the council.  This could include grab rails, short ramps, dropped curbs or external lighting.

Larger adaptations

For larger 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.

A DFG is administered and paid by your local council’s housing department, but you can usually only get a DFG for work that your local council has assessed that you need in your care needs assessment.

Your local council has a legal duty to provide DFG funding for an adaptation in certain circumstances.

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.

What do I do if my local council won’t pay for my home adaptations and equipment?

If the local authority decides after your care needs assessment that you aren’t eligible for help from them, they must still give you free information and advice - for example, about where to buy equipment.

If you need to get your own equipment:

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

Your local Age UK may provide a handyperson service to carry out small repairs.


  • Please select a search type
  • Please enter a valid postcode

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. 

What should I do next?

Arrange a care needs assessment

Contact your local council to arrange a care needs assessment to see if you qualify for any free specialist equipment and home adaptations.

A small favour

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.

Please support our work

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
8am – 7pm 365 days a year


Last updated: Sep 11 2018

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top