Under our healthcare governance in the UK, everyone has the right to ask social services for a community care assessment.  This assessment will determine the type and level of your need for adaptations to your home to enable you access care at home.  An application for a community care assessment can be made by an individual or a caregiver.

Since April 2003 people have had the right to request a direct payment of money instead of the community care service offered.  This means that you can ask for the money that the local authority would of paid for equipment, if you wish to purchase it from an alternative supplier to the council’s supplier.

A qualified professional, usually an occupational therapist, will come and perform the assessment in your own home, assessing both your personal needs and the suitability of your accommodation. Adaptations can be made to your home to make it fully accessible to you if you have mobility problems.  This can include things like ramps, stair lifts, widening doorways and lowering worktops and electrical sockets.

In addition, other equipment can be provided that can make your home safer and more comfortable.  This can include things like handrails, bath rails and chairs, kettle-tippers, clamps to open jars and personal alarms to alert services if you have a fall.

Ultimately, most elderly people would prefer to remain in their own home, and the costs to provide homecare, as opposed to residential care homes, are much less for a local authority. The average cost for a week in a care home in Bournemouth, Dorset for example is £764 a week!

As we have a hugely expanding senior generation, it is going to become more important to try and adapt an old person’s home to extend their ability to remain independent.  The fact that the burden of caring costs can then also be partly shared by family caregivers and community homecare services will lighten the burden upon the public senior care budget!