Equipment, aids and home adaptations
Different types of equipment or changes to your home (or the home of the person you care for) could help make the home environment safer and life easier by providing independence for the person you are looking after, and peace of mind for you.
Below, we've prepared a list of room-by-room ideas including items of equipment (such as a raised toilet seat), smaller adaptations (such as fitting grab rails), and larger adaptations (such as installing a wet room).
Find out more about how getting a Disabled Facilities Grant might help with funding adaptations in the home in our Grants and schemes section.
Equipment for the home
- If you have difficulty turning taps on and off you may wish to consider installing single lever taps which control both temperature and flow rate. Some of these taps are also thermostatically controlled for increased safety. You can also get taps which turn on automatically when you put your hands under them so these could be an option too.
- Alternatively, tap turners can be purchased to assist the person you are looking after to operate your existing conventional taps. The advantage of these is that they can be used if you are away from home.
- If the person you’re caring for cannot stand up for long periods to carry out tasks such as washing up or ironing, a perching stool may be useful.
- To make food preparation and cooking easier and safer for the person you care for you might like to try: a kettle with a holder to make it easy to pour, using non-slip mats on the worktop to stop things from sliding around, using lightweight pots and pans which are easier to lift, cooking vegetables in a steamer or a basket in a pan so that boiling water can be left to cool, knives and forks with special handles to make them easy easier to hold, cups with two handles and easy to grip jugs or graters
- You can also consider lowering the kitchen worktops the person you care for has difficulties reaching the worktop and using cupboards.
- Simple things you can do straight away without needing to purchase any equipment include: storing regularly used kitchen equipment and utensils between hip and eye level and storing heavy dishes inside a carrier bag to make lifting them out of the cupboard easier.
- If the person you are caring for finds it hard to get in and out of the bath you can use a bath lift, a bath board or hoist which can be fitted inside the bath. You could also consider installing a wet room or a walk-in shower.
- If the person you are caring for struggles to stand to take a shower then you may wish to get a shower bench so that they can shower seating down.
- To make it safe for the person you care for to take a bath, use a rubber bathmat and fit grab rails to the wall and the side of the bath so that they have something to support them when they are getting in and out.
- Something as simple as a removable shower head can aid with rinsing.
- To help the person you care for get on and off the toilet you can get a raised toilet seat which fits over your existing one. Grab rails at the side of the toilet can also be helpful, or a toilet seat with built in arm rests or a mobile commode.
- If the person you are caring for finds it difficult to get in and out of bed or is at risk of falling out of bed, you can attach bed rails for safety.
- For people with mobility problems, leg lifters (straps to help you lift your leg) can help with getting in and out of bed more easily.
- Bed raisers can increase the height of a bed and make it easier to get in and out of bed.
- To help with dressing, there are hooks that can help pull zips, undo buttons and pull put jackets on.
- There are a number of gadgets to help put socks, tights and underwear on.
- Something as simple as a reacher could potentially make a host of everyday tasks easier for disabled people – such as picking things up off the floor or high up on a shelf.
- A decent chair with arms is easier to get up from than a sofa, and if the arms do not have any gaps at the side, this makes pushing up from them easier and means that nothing can slip through them and on to the floor. Chair raisers can be fitted if the person you care for struggles to get in and out of their current chair. Never use cushions to raise the height of the seat as this can be bad for the back.
- If there is a step into the home, or into any rooms, a handle on the door frame could help, or an extra half step could be added to reduce the height. Creating or fitting a ramp could also help reduce any related danger.
- If it is a lot of effort for the person you care for to answer the door, or if they can’t do it at all, you might want to consider installing a doorbell system that enables them to speak (and possibly see) the person at the door and let them in remotely.
- If the person you care for needs a wheelchair and there are steps into their home, you may want to install a ramp or have temporary ones available that can also be used when they are away from home. Additionally, you can could think about having doorways widened to accommodate the wheelchair.
- A second banister on the stairs could help the person you look after balance when they are going up and down, or you might wish to consider the installation of a stairlift.
- We have more information on where to find these products and services.
What should I do with specialist equipment when it's no longer needed?
Some equipment may be returned to the NHS or local authority if this is where you originally sourced it. You can look up your local authority here: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.
If you're based in Northern Ireland, you would need to contact your local Health and Social Care Trust for guidance on this instead.
The occupational therapist you have worked with may have suggestions. For equipment that the original providers may not be able to take, there will be small companies, local businesses or even charities, such as Wheels to Heal, that could take it for you. There are a number of charities that are able to recycle equipment.
Some people also find social media a good way to spread the word and pass on aids or equipment to friends or family members or they may use channels such as Facebook Marketplace to sell or give away items locally. There is some helpful guidance on Scope's website about recycling second-hand disability equipment.