Accessible living spaces are crucial for people with disabilities and limited mobility.

Not only does improving accessibility at home enhance independence and safety for users, but it can allow individuals to return to the property after a hospital stay. 

That being said, adapting a home can feel like an enormous challenge. It can be difficult to know where to start. Which adaptations are needed, and in what order do they need to be completed? Who will carry out the work? 

And the question on many people’s lips… How will you pay for the necessary changes?

There is a lot to consider. This blog will help you on your way, taking the stress out of making your home accessible. 

Understanding Your Needs

Before doing anything else, you need to consider the needs of the individual and the property itself. 

Person-Centred Adaptations

The adaptations required will very much depend on the abilities and needs of the user or users. Adaptations for a child, for example, will look different to those for an adult. 

What disability, condition or impairments is the user living with? In what way is their mobility limited? Is it a progressive disease, like Parkinson’s, that will get worse over time? Or will the individual recover from certain ailments in the short term, meaning adaptations don’t need to be permanent?

The Adapted Property

What activities or areas of the home are challenging? What space is available for making changes?

Which areas of the property need to be made safer? The kitchen and the bathroom tend to be high on the list, but what about the stairs? Can the user move between floors with ease? 

Consider access to the home, too. If the threshold to the home is above ground level, a ramp might be needed. 

Making Your Home Accessible

Where To Start

Once you understand the needs that the adaptations are required to meet, you’re ready to engage with external organisations to get the ball rolling. 

Local Authority

For many, their first stop is their local council. Through the council, you can arrange a free home assessment, though how long the waiting list is varies by county. 

During the home assessment, an OT will assess the difficulties you have. They will offer advice on equipment and changes that will make life safer and everyday tasks simpler and can loan essential equipment. 

Your local authority may be able to help cover the cost of changes you need. We’ll cover funding adaptations further down the page. 

Occupational Therapist

Whilst most people are assessed by their local authority, some hospital care teams also include an OT, and others choose to get a private assessment. 

OTs work is broad, but their job is to optimise patients’ life skills to increase independence in daily life.  

During an assessment, the assessing OT will want to know:

  • What you can do around the home
  • What you’re struggling with
  • The things you need to make home activities safer. 

The OT might also ask you to demonstrate tasks, too, so they can get a proper feel for your abilities and write a comprehensive report afterwards.

For more about what to expect from an OT assessment, read this.

Self-Guided Assessment

Not sure whether your needs or those of a loved one would qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant?

By using online self-assessment tools like Foundations‘ Adapt My Home, anyone can quickly check if they’re likely to be eligible. Going through the process also highlights the adaptations that might be necessary to make your home more accessible.


A surprising number of charity organisations offer advice and help concerning your rights and can help you finance building work and specialist equipment.

  • The British Red Cross provide specialist equipment, like wheelchairs and toilet frames, to support people with their mobility needs. 
  • Scope is a charity that provides direct services for disabled people in England and Wales.
  • Age UK is a charity that focuses on quality of life for those over 60.
  • The Edward Gostling Foundation may be able to help with supporting low-income individuals who are living with a disability or long-term illness.
  • Turn2us is a free, charity-run service that helps individuals access welfare benefits, grants and other forms of help.

Specialist Adaptations Contractors

When you make your home more accessible, any changes made must be safe and fit for use by the users. Specialist adaptations contractors:

  • Have years of experience in the field of adaptations, meaning they work fast and efficiently.
  • Will take time to understand your needs and work with you to find solutions that simplify mobility around your home.
  • Should be accredited, giving you complete peace of mind.
  • Cause little disruption and treat your home with care.
  • Work alongside other professionals, like OTs.

Specialist adaptations contractors can carry out all types of adaptations, and project manage the whole thing so that you don’t have to, making the process stress-free and fast. 

Common Adaptations You Might Need

Here’s a look at some adaptations we regularly carry out to improve independence within the home setting. 

Minor Adaptations

Minor adaptations are typically cheap and simple to install. Here are some examples:

  • Grab rails. These provide support for people who find it hard to stand for long periods.
  • Internal and external handrails sit next to steps and staircases to improve safety levels.
  • Door widening, to enable wheelchair users to fit through properly.
  • Ramps. Access ramps enable people with limited mobility to easily enter and exit the property.
  • Sinks. Standard sinks are too deep for many people who rely on wheelchairs.
  • Toilets. Typical WCs sit too low for people with reduced mobility and can cause body pain. Adapted toilets are often higher for this reason. 
  • Shower seats. Shower seats offer the user somewhere to sit comfortably whilst washing, easing the strain on the body. 

Major Adaptations

Major adaptations require specialist building works and take longer to execute. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Level access showers. In accessible bathrooms, level access showers sit at floor level, removing the trip risk of a shower tray edge.
  • Stairlift. For help moving between floors of the house, stairlifts transport users safely and silently.
  • Changes to house layout. Sometimes, the layout of the house needs to be changed to make other adaptations possible.
  • Extensions/repurposing rooms. Not all properties have sufficient space. Quite often, families will decide to add an extension to their ground floor to create a downstairs bedroom. 

home adaptations

Getting Funding For Your Adaptations

If the changes you need cost under £1,000, you will not need to pay for the equipment or minor adaptations. Your local council will be able to fund these. 

For changes that will cost more than £1,000, you can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. This means-tested financial support can help you cover the cost of adaptations, though you may have to contribute. 

Check out our blog on funding adaptations here for more information.

Adaptations Don’t Need To Be Daunting

Enhancing the accessibility of your home improves safety and helps support comfortable, independent living. 

We know it is a daunting task. But our guide above provides a roadmap to various resources and services available in the UK, helping you to find the right help and make a challenging time a bit easier. 

Ready to learn more about what’s possible? Fancy reading some case studies to get a feel for an adaptation project? See our website to find out more about us.