Home Adaptations can help make yours or your elderly relatives’ homes safer and easier to live in, allowing them to stay independent for longer. Adaptations can be smaller like grab rails around the bathroom, stair rails or short ramps or larger like widening doors, stairlifts or adapting heating or lightning.
If, following a Care Needs Assessment from Suffolk County Council, it is recommended that some minor adaptations (costing less than £1000) be made to the house the elderly person lives in, the council will provide and install them free of charge.
For Major Adaptations, funding is means-tested and provided by the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) from the local authority. The first step to accessing this funding is to contact your local authority to get a Home Assessment from your council’s Home Improvement Agency. This involves an occupational therapist visiting the elderly person’s home and assessing which major adaptations would significantly improve safety and wellbeing.
If the Care Needs Assessment outcome recommends that the older person is not eligible for any adaptations, it may be worth checking out our page on Safer Independent Living in Suffolk. If you want to get a quick idea on what adaptations might be useful, before a Care Needs Assessment, you can complete an online questionnaire on Ask Sara.
This page will give you all the information you need to access your local Home Improvement Agency and how a Disabled Facilities Grant works.
Getting a Home Assessment in Suffolk
The Home Improvement Agency that operates on behalf of all boroughs across Suffolk (including Waveney) is Orbit Care and Repair and is based in Bury St Edmunds. Orbit Care offer a variety of services for free, including advice and information about housing options, home repairs and adaptations, funding advice and a Handyperson service. The service will help guide you through the entire process from assessing needs to funding to installation – they are your port-of-call for home adaptations in Suffolk.
Orbit also organises the home assessments from occupational therapists to identify potential areas in daily life that the elderly person may struggle with and work out the best way to solve these problems. You will need an occupational therapist’s report to apply to funding.
Contact Orbit Care and Repair for initial advice on the process, to organise a home visit from an occupational therapist, or for any other questions about home adaptations or funding that you may have.
Telephone: 0800 121 77 11
Grants Available in Suffolk for Larger Home Alterations
Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)
The DFG is a means-tested government grant supplied by the council for major essential adaptations, as recommended by an occupational therapist following a home visit. It will cover things like making bathing more accessible by installing level-access showers or bathtub lifts, fitting a stair lifts, or adding in ground floor toilets.
You can apply for this grant even if they elderly person is living in rented accommodation, as long as they plan to live in the property for at least 5 years following the grant, and the planned changes have been agreed with the landlord.
Applications for a DFG are made through your local council, however, as an occupational therapist will need to be involved via the Home Improvement Agency, it is likely that Orbit Care and Repair will assist you in drafting and submitting the application for free.
There is a maximum grant amount of £30,000 once the application is endorsed by an occupational therapist and approved by the council. However, the DFG is a means-tested grant and so the amount you will be able to access depends on your family’s individual income and saving circumstances.
Contact Orbit to find out about the DFG application process:
West Suffolk Home Assistance Grants
In addition to the DFG, West Suffolk Council offers means-tested Home Assistance grants to help home owner-occupiers to carry out repairs and improvements to make their house safe, warm, weathertight and secure. This can also include minor adaptations to enable the owner to be discharged from hospital and reoccupy their home.
As it is means-tested, applications can only be accepted for those on low income and have less that £16,000 in savings. The maximum grant available is £20,000, however, where the total grant exceeds £1000, if the property is sold or transferred the grant will have to be repaid in full.
You can find out more and apply on the West Suffolk Council Website or contact Debbie Paine to find out more at:
Telephone: 01284 757 036