Planning to adapt your home?
It can be a stressful time when a family member becomes disabled through an illness or an accident or maybe your home must be adapted because you are ageing or have an ageing family member. This process can be frightening and costly.
Before making changes to your home you can consult an occupational therapist (OT) who will assess your daily living needs and advise on adaptations to your home. You can contact an OT through the community care section of your Local Health Office. (This may vary for different countries) Alternatively, you may wish to hire an OT privately, as there may be a waiting list for the public OT service.
Other health professionals, such as public health nurses and physiotherapists, can also advise you on specialised equipment and home adaptations, based on both your short-term and long-term needs.
There are lots of things to be considered when adapting a home and if you need to add a structure or an extra room, you may need planning permission.
Adapting your home may be expensive, particularly if structural change is involved. In some countries there are grants available and if you qualify for the adaptations, you may be able to get back some of the costs of hiring the Occupational Therapist.
There are several ways to reduce the financial burden, but please note that these vary in each country:
You may be eligible for a means-tested Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability. For more basic and cheaper alterations, such as grab rails, level access showers or chair-lifts, the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme could be available (also means-tested)
If you have an ageing family member, or you yourself are ageing and intend on adapting your home you could qualify for The Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme. This is used to improve the condition of an older person’s home. The type of work covered includes structural repairs, re-wiring and upgrades to heating systems. Local authorities vary as regards to the type of work covered by this scheme.
Before any of this work commences, you must be assessed by a relevant professional, such as an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist.