The majority of people choose to ‘age in place’ by adapting their home or bringing in services to ensure they can live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, in their current home. Help available can include:
- Help at home with domestic tasks such as housework, cooking, shopping and gardening
- Personal care services, such as help with dressing and bathing
- Small maintenance jobs such as changing light bulbs, doing small repairs and making sure your home safe and secure
- Companionship and social activities
- Transport to and from the shops, doctors appointment and social events
- Looking after pets
- Home improvements, such as putting in a stairlift or wetroom
Adaptations and Home Improvements
Small adaptations such as grab rails, specialist furniture and ramps can make a big difference and major adaptations such as stair lifts or fitting a walk in shower can often be the difference between having to move and keeping your independence at home.
Minor adaptations: If you feel you would benefit from the provision of smaller changes such as the installation of grab rails, bath seats or a ramp then contact the social services department of your local authority to request an assessment of your needs. It is likely that you will then be visited by an Occupational Therapist (OT), if they agree that you need adaptations then these should be provided free of charge if the total cost is less than £1,000
Major adaptations/improvements: For larger improvements, such as widening doorways, installing a stair lift or fitting a wet room, your Occupational Therapist may suggest applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). This grant of up to £30,000 will consider your finances and is provided by your local authority, it can help cover the cost of major improvements.
Alternatively, you may wish to approach your local Home Improvement Agency (HIA), a not-for-profit organisation set up to advice and assist older homeowners and renters with making repairs, improvements and adaptations to their home. They often work closely with the local authority and can help you explore any financial assistance available, as well as arranging for the work to be done. You can find details for your local HIA, here.
Home safety and security
To explore how your risk of falls could be reduced and how your stairs could be made to feel safer for you, speak to your local Home Improvement Agency (HIA) or the Adult Social Care team of your local authority to arrange a conversation with an Occupational Therapist (OT). An OT can help you explore small changes, such as removing rugs and ensuring you have adequate lighting to get to the bathroom during the night.
If you are concerned about not being able to raise the alarm if something were to happen, such as a fall, you might consider getting a personal alarm system. These buttons can be worn around your neck or on your wrist and, upon being pressed, immediately informs someone that you need assistance. You can read more about them in our factsheet on Living longer – remaining independent.
Your HIA can talk you through the steps available to make your home feel more secure, alternatively you can contact your local police office to see if they have a Crime Prevention Officer that can visit your home.
Help with domestic tasks
Local charities such as Age UK and the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) often provide home help services that include help with domestic day to day tasks. You can use their websites to search for support in your area. Note that there may be a charge for their services.
Many home care agencies will also provide home help services, even if you do not require personal care from them.
If you are looking for home help from a home care agency then you may wish to use a service provided by Care Sourcer. They provide an entirely free care matching service, searching all 27,000 registered UK care providers. They will provide you with a tailored list of people who can help now, with their price, within 24 hours. You can view their website, here.
Finding local services
Our Home Services Directory includes a wide range of services that can help older people live well and independently at home. Our advanced search allows you to filter by certain categories, such as domestic help, transport and meal delivery.
Alternatively, you may wish to enquire with your local Age UK, Royal Voluntary Service or local authority to enquire about the service they offer or are aware of locally.