Undertaking home adaptations can enhance independence and quality of life for individuals with reduced mobility.
If you’ve ever wondered what might go wrong when you’re adapting a home, you’re in the right place. Here, we discuss what home adaptations are, why they might go wrong and what you can do about it.
What Are Home Adaptations?
Making changes to your home to accommodate disabilities, old age, injury, obesity, and illness can make it easier for users to carry out everyday tasks. Whatever the cause of the reduction of mobility, things like using stairs, the bathroom and answering the door can be difficult or even impossible to manage.
Home adaptations can be minor, like changing the style of taps in your bathroom and rejigging a room to make it easier to move around in. Things like installing grab rails fall into the minor adaptation category.
Major adaptations, on the other hand, like widening doorways and installing wetrooms, are more costly and are usually undertaken by a specialist contractor. This is because they are far more involved, requiring extensive knowledge and expertise.
So, what should you be on the lookout for to avoid a home disaster?
The first factor that can see a home adaptation go wrong is insufficient planning.
Not giving enough thought to your home adaptation project means that you haven’t planned out the best way to approach the job. For something like fitting a grab rail, this isn’t too big a problem. But when it comes to major adaptations like renovations, poor planning can cause a whole host of issues.
For many people, it’s impossible to simply up sticks whilst big building works are happening. And so working around the lives and needs of everyone at the property is necessary.
This often involves living in a messy home with unusable facilities – at least for a little while.
And poor planning can mean this stage takes much longer than necessary.
If you’re planning home adaptations yourself, you may end up tackling various changes in the wrong order, making the disruption more intrusive and unsettling.
Consider this. You jump into buying and fitting textured lino in a bathroom because it reduces the risk of slips and falls. Next, you replace the toilet with an adjustable height WC.
But because you didn’t think your bathroom project through, you didn’t account for the new toilet having a smaller footprint, so you’re left with a significant gap in your new flooring, which will take time and money to fix.
Bring In A Contractor
To combat this issue, look into contracting a professional to help you with planning your project.
With years of experience under their belt and a vast knowledge pool, a good contractor will know how to approach the needed work to get it done efficiently and ensure all materials are available to limit irritating delays.
Expert home adaptation contractors will also be empathetic to the needs of anyone living in the property. They will help you work out how to minimise discomfort during the adaptation process if moving out is not an option.
Ignoring Future Needs
Another thing to avoid when doing home adaptations is focusing purely on current needs.
For the elderly or those with progressive conditions, you will need to consider what possible changes they may have to their lifestyle in the future. This means that you can put changes into place now and limit future disturbances.
Have a think about…
Installing an adjustable-height toilet or a modular sink with space underneath for a wheelchair might be top of your list for home adaptations. But will these facilities continue to be sufficient as your patient or loved one gets older, or their condition progresses?
Thinking about opting for a level-access shower or a brand-new wet room could be a more worthwhile investment and one that will enable the user to maintain independence for longer.
For more information about adapted bathrooms, read this blog.
If the property has stairs, consider the addition of a stairlift if it’s a piece of kit that will be necessary further down the line.
Is there room?
If a stairlift isn’t suitable due to narrow or twisting staircases and there isn’t space for any other type of home lift, is the house suitable for the long term?
Doorways And Ramps
If a wheelchair is likely to be needed at any stage, bring in a contractor to widen all of the doorways. This will enable free movement around the rooms and prepare the home for being wheelchair-friendly when the time comes.
If there are steps or steep slopes up to the front door or down to the garden, installing a ramp is also one of the most helpful adaptations you can make. If you’re new to the idea, check this blog out for more on ramp installation.
Speak To Your Medical Professional
An occupational therapist and other medical professionals can help you understand what might happen in the future. Armed with this knowledge, seek out an expert contractor to advise you on what you can do to account for the future.
Taking On Too Much Yourself
And third on the list: taking DIY to the next level and approaching all adaptations yourself. This is one we don’t recommend when looking at home adaptations.
We love to learn new skills and take pride in executing home DIY ourselves, don’t we? Some tasks like tiling, changing appliances and installing grab rails seem simple, so the temptation to just get on with it is alluring. Especially if it means saving money.
But when it comes to making someone’s home safe, it’s a big responsibility.
Don’t get us wrong. Certain accessible aspects can be done DIY-style. Add raised planters to the garden. Move furniture around to make a room easier to navigate. You can even be the project manager in repurposing a downstairs reception room for a ground-floor bedroom.
But other adaptations take real expertise and skill. Even general builders aren’t always the right fit because they don’t have the experience of what accessible living means. (Not sure what we mean? We wrote a blog about it).
Avoid The Stress
Take the weight off by working with a home adaptations contractor who can guide you. They’ll let you know what you can manage yourself and what to leave to the professionals.
Top Tips For Successful Home Adaptations
But enough of that. Here’s how to ensure your home adaptation projects achieve the desired results.
Giving sufficient thought to the order of events and what’s required for each task is key to a successful home adaptation project.
Include all costs in your planning so that you can ensure you remain within budget. You might be able to get help with this in the form of funding. Check out this blog for everything you need to know.
Get Professional Input
Speak to a contractor for their advice before taking on the whole job yourself. And we don’t mean a general builder.
Home adaptations experts have the specialist knowledge, experience, empathy and understanding required to elevate your project to total success – speedily.
Get Clear Timescales
Work with your contractor to set out clear timescales before starting the project so that you can organise your living situation whilst the work is being carried out. This means you can prepare for not having kitchen or bathroom access for a week, for example, and makes for far less disturbance – especially for vulnerable individuals.
Focus On Safety
Whilst cost and timings are crucial to a project that works, nothing is more important than the safety of those living in the home. Working with a specialist contractor can take the pressure off here, ensuring the new changes will be executed correctly.
Functionality is one thing, but a home should still be a home.
Plenty of modern adaptation facilities and equipment are sleek and stylish, but do your homework and think about your vision for a fully adapted home. Don’t forget interior design; if you’re making many changes, why not get all of the fuss out of the way simultaneously for a brand-new, beautiful home?
Bring A Professional On Board For Stress-Free Home Adaptations
Planning for and making changes to the home can be overwhelming and cause unnecessary stress for everyone living there.
Using a contractor makes home adaptations plain sailing, even if you undertake some of the work yourself.
Are you in the process of planning out a home adaptation project? Starting to worry about how it’s all going to work? We can help. Click here to find out more about what we do.