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Making your House Accessible

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 16 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Making Your House Accessible

It's becoming more common for house renovations to be made to allow a disabled member of the family to live at home more comfortably. As medical advances continue people are living longer and not succumbing to diseases and ailments that previously would have ended in premature death or being confined to a residential care centre.

Introduction to House Renovation for Disabled Access

In this series of articles in this section we will be looking at the advances in technology and equipment that help people live in a house. Of course it's difficult to make recommendations for modifications to a house that are going to help every person because there are so many different ways that people can be affected by various conditions. In this article we will endeavour to give an introduction to the techniques that will make day-to-day living easier for many people.

Surprisingly the renovation of houses to allow people to stay in them longer is supported by the government. The Department of Work and Pensions published a report on independent living in the summer of 2007.

Government Support for Independent Living

This recognised that the cost of modifying a house to allow independent living for longer are far outweighed by the savings to the national health that arise from keeping people out of sorely-pressed residential care homes. It would also lower costs associated with having day care delivered to people's homes.

It was also recognised that enabling people to live independently has a beneficial affect on those individuals as well. However, changing the way that healthcare is assessed and delivered is not going to be a quick process and the report called for more analysis. If that process is followed to its logical conclusion then there should be more government money made available to fund modifications to a house to allow people to live in their homes for longer.

Existing grants for modifications of this kind are discussed in a separate article in this section.

From Wheelchair Access to Technology and Communications

There are three very broad categories of house renovation that can be helpful to disabled and elderly people:

  • Modifications to the fabric of a house to allow easier navigation
  • Installation of fixtures and fittings to a house that are more accessible
  • Use of technology in a house to make communicating and living easier

The first category includes widening of doorways and possibly removing the doors themselves or switching to sliding doors, installing ramps and other facilities that allow access for wheelchairs and turning space. Then there are shifts in the configuration of a house such as moving a bathroom downstairs, or making the house more open plan.

The second category covers fitments that make things in the house easier to operate, from long handles on taps to full blown accessible bathroom and kitchens; really the sky is the limit once you start looking at what's available in these areas.

The final category involves technological areas like intercoms and videophone entry systems, now becoming commonplace, through communications devices that can keep someone in touch with a care centre, to more cutting edge solutions where technology can help someone make use of computers to do things for them.

Cost Conscious Ideas for Access and Flexibility

Throughout this series of articles we will endeavour to focus on simple and cost effective solutions but also cover the newer (and therefore, unfortunately more expensive) options beginning to come onto the market.

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Latest Comments
  • Ingrid
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi. I'm making an enquiry on behalf of my elderly parents who live in a house in Scotland, built circa 1894. They are both on state…
    3 July 2018
  • Roget
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    @Aims - I don't think you can get grants for this sort of home improvements. Grants are much more scarce these days. A can of white…
    12 June 2018
  • Aims
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi I am a lone parent to 2 children and have always worked long hours as a nurse in the NHS, I simply can't afford to redecorate my…
    12 June 2018
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    I need a side shelter/porch, partly for storage, partly for shelter and partly to protect a lobby that's freezing in winter and boiling in summer.…
    21 May 2018
  • buddie
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    i am in the process of having my late mothers house left to me...its about a hundred old house but in need of a lot of work as not…
    25 April 2018
  • Matt
    Re: Adding A Porch
    We have a very small open porch. It has a small tiled roof with full length brick walls on either side leading to original front door. It also has…
    5 April 2018
  • Jen
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi - we have recently purchase a property in southport which was constructed in 1836. It is in a serious state of disrepair and will…
    29 March 2018
  • RenovationExpert
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Beth - Your Question:I am enquirering about possible housing grant for renovation of a very old damp depressing house, this house is…
    23 February 2018
  • Beth
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    I am enquirering about possible housing grant for renovation of a very old damp depressing house, this house is much older than 10…
    22 February 2018
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    Re: Can Our Electrician Refuse to Finish The Job?
    @Cliffy60 - send him a warning letter and say you'll take him to the small claims court if he doesn't come…
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