Sometimes it may be necessary to make changes to your home to make it easier to move around in and continue to live there safely and independently.     Changes to the structure of your home, such as fitting a stair lift, installing a bed hoist or fitting an access ramp may be able to help. These are called major adaptations and can make a big difference to your quality of life and help you maintain your independence.

Adaptations to your home

The following are just some examples of adaptations which may help maintain or your independence:

Stair lifts may help you to carry on getting up and down your stairs and make the difference between staying in your current home or needing to move on elsewhere. 

Access ramps and wheelchair lifts: If you have to use special equipment such as a wheelchair and have small numbers of steps within your home from one room to another you might want to consider installing an access ramp to your home. The type of ramp you will need will depend on the size of the step you want to overcome and the type of equipment you use.

In some cases, a ramp may not be the right solution and you may need to install a wheelchair lift to help you negotiate steps. These can be particularly useful if you have a flight of steps up to the front door of your property.

Changing the layout of your home may help if you are no longer able to use some areas of your home safely. You will always need advice from qualified builders if you are considering making changes, such as: 

  • widening doorways so that you can use a wheelchair 
  • replacing your bath or shower unit with a level-access shower, or changing your toilet 
  • adding a downstairs toilet or bathroom so that you don't have to keep using the stairs 

If you are thinking about making changes to your home and want to arrange the work yourself, it's important to make sure you find a reputable and reliable tradesman. 


Smaller pieces of equipment: There is a range of equipment available which may also help you with daily tasks around the home like cooking, getting dressed or getting in and out of bed. 


How to get help

If you are having trouble making use of your home safely, we always recommend you approach the Council for an assessment, no matter what your circumstances. Having an assessment is free of charge and it can help you and others understand your needs better and it will help you think through the options. 


What happens next? 

An occupational therapist will visit you at home and consider how best to support you. This will include assessing whether an adaptation to your home would be an option and if there is any smaller pieces of equipment which may be able to help. If they agree that a major adaptation is needed, the Home improvement Agency can help with the process.

Home Improvement Agency
Address: Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7436

Paying for adaptations

You may be able to get help with the cost of a major adaptation to your home. The Council will consider your financial situation and work out if you can get money to help pay for the work through the Disabled Facilities Grant. 


Useful contacts:

Address: Disabled Living Foundation, Unit 1, 34 Chatfield Road Wandsworth London SW11 3SE
Phone: 0300 999 0004

Living made easy
Phone: 0300 999 0004

Richmond Council Adult Access Team
Address: Adult Social Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7971
Minicom: 18001 020 8891 7971