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Adapting your home

Information and advice

Your home can be adapted to make life easier and safer. This usually costs much less than moving into a new house or care home and involves far less upheaval.

Our top ten things to think about will help you to plan your future care, even if you don't need support at the moment.

There are many ways in which your home can be adapted. For example:

  • putting in ramps or handrails so it is easier to get in and around the home
  • widening doors or putting in a stair lift so it is easier to move between rooms
  • altering bathroom and kitchen fittings to bring them to wheelchair height
  • adapting heating controls or light switches so they are easier to use

Many adaptations are relatively simple and inexpensive, but can make a big difference. For example, a handrail up the stairs might be all that is needed to help you get safely to the bathroom.

Simple grab rails, ramps and other fittings can be purchased from websites, local DIY home improvement stores, or specialist retailers.

Use our Directory to find a supplier, or alternatively Contact Us for advice.

Stairlifts

Stairlifts have helped people maintain independence within their home. Whether you are looking for a straight or a curved lift, browse information available.

A useful site to understand the benefits and various options available is the stairlift comparison site.

Reconditioned Stairlift option

If you are unable to get any financial assistance, you could still save money by buying a reconditioned stairlift instead of a brand new one. Reconditioned stairlifts are much cheaper because they have been pre-owned. Although the stairlift will not be new, it will have been refurbished to meet quality and safety standards.

Read more information on where to hire a straight stairlift.

Age UK North, South & West Dorset has information regarding stairlifts

The following companies hire straight stairlifts. This information is for information only, Dorset Council cannot recommend or comment on the service provided.  Prices may vary to advertised, although were correct as of July 2020. Contact the retailer for more information:

Solent Stairlifts Charge: £250 installation and removal. £25 per month hire charge. Tel: 01202 535394  Mob: 07989 962298

Homerise Stairlifts Charge £450 installation and removal, plus call out charges,then £50 per month hire charge. Tel: 01202 733036

Dorchester Stairlifts Charge £350-£500 installation and removal then £50 per month hire charge.
Tel: 0800 9177714

South Coast Mobility (supplied by Acorn stairlifts) Price on application. Tel: 01202 399919 

D.C.S and County Stairlifts = £650 installation and removal then £50 per month.
Tel: 01202 873730

Stannah Lift Services Information and price on application. Tel: 01202 476781.

DMA Stairlifts £439 installation and removal then £39 per month hire charge. Tel: 01823 661037   

Dolphin Mobility South – West Moors, Wimborne £700 installation, removal and maintenance for the 1st year then £50 per month after hire charge. Tel: 01202 669194

Advice on home adaptations

Age UK North, South & West Dorset has helpful advice on adapting your home including an informative guide.

Alzheimer's Society has advice on home adaptations for those with memory loss and dementia.

Dorset Accessible Homes Service can advise on adaptations, including getting the work done and applying for grants if you are disabled or over 50 and live in Dorset (but not in Bournemouth or Poole).

Social housing

If you live in social housing, your housing provider may be able to help with adaptations, so contact them first.

Finding a trader

The Buy with Confidence​ scheme can help you to find a local trader who can carry out home adaptations.

Sight and hearing

Sight and hearing centres offer advice about home adaptations if you have a sight or hearing impairment. Like Independent Living Centres, these offer an opportunity to see and try out specialist equipment and get advice. For information look at our page about sight and hearing. Alternatively, one of our occupational therapists can visit you at home to talk about what you might need.

Major home adaptations

Finding a more suitable home

If you think your current home is no longer suitable, adapting it may not always be the best solution. There may be other homes already adapted or more suitable for adaptation that would suit your needs. Moving home is a big decision. Housing Option Services have been developed across most of Dorset to provide older and disabled people with the information, specialist advice and practical support that they need to enable them to make informed choices about whether to move to a more suitable house or to stay in their existing home.

You may also wish to consider making an application for a more suitable housing association home that is already adapted or more suitable for adaptation. We manage the waiting lists for housing association properties. To be considered for a housing association home you need to make a housing application. Your occupational therapist will be able to support you with making an application for more suitable housing.

Disabled Facilities Grant for Major adaptations

If your home needs a major or complex adaptation, we can we can talk to you about a Disabled Facilities Grant which can be used to pay for a range of works to help with access into and around the home or to make homes safer for a disabled person. There is a wide range of possible works, examples include ramping, provision of an accessible shower, door widening and stair lifts etc.

The grant is provided by us, Dorset Council, and is administered and delivered by The Dorset Accessible Homes Service who work closely with our Occupational Therapists. At the start of the process the Dorset Accessible Home Service and/or your Occupational Therapist will work with you to assess what would help you. Sometimes they may recommend equipment rather than adaptation as this may suit your needs better and can be arranged quickly.

Some grants are means tested (except in the case of a grant for a disabled child), so depending on the disabled person's income and savings, they may have to contribute towards the cost of the work.

If you are a Housing Association Tenant your landlord may also set aside funds each year to pay for adaptations.

What is the grant available for?

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) are available for:

  • making it easier to get in and out of the home e.g. ramps
  • making it easier to get around the home and access to their bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen e.g. door widening or stairlift
  • help the disabled person to care for another person
  • making it easier to use the toilet, bath or shower e.g. installing a shower rather than a bath
    to provide safe access to a part of an outdoor space e.g. garden
  • making it safer to prepare and cook food e.g. lower food preparation surface
  • improving or providing a suitable heating system
  • helping to control lighting, power or heating e.g. by relocating controls.
Who can apply?

Owner occupiers and tenants can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. You can also apply for a grant for a disabled person who lives with you or a disabled child.

What happens if I'm not eligible for a grant to carry out the adaptation work?

You may decide to pay for the work yourself. The Dorset Accessible Homes Service can provide you with help and advice about the solutions that are best for you.

Can I do the work myself?

Yes. If you are a tenant you will need to get the permission of your landlord first, before starting any work.

How do I make an inquiry for help or apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant?

For more information about the help available to make your home more accessible contact the Dorset Accessible Home Service.

Further information

You may also like to look at these related pages: