Here are some sources of advice on finding the equipment that's best for you, and where you might get funding to make the necessary changes.
Information and advice
You may be eligible for a free assessment with social services - they'll see that you get any aids or minor adaptations you need. You may have to pay towards the cost of equipment or information. This varies from authority to authority, and might depend on what you can afford.
The assessment is usually carried out by an occupational therapist. Their advice is worth having even if you can afford to buy the equipment privately. There might be a long waiting list.
You can get free advice from an occupational therapist (OT) at a Disabled Living Centre or a home-improvement agency. Some OTs are based in hospitals, or you can ask for a referral from your GP or social services. If you can pay, a private OT can also assess you.
The College of Occupational Therapists has a list of private OTs.
Disabled Living Centres
Disabled Living Centres (DLCs) are local, independent centres that have equipment to look at and try out. It's best to make an appointment with an OT or specialist - they can tell you what to look for and where to find equipment.
Google 'Disabled Living Centres' to find your nearest DLC.
For even more information than we include in this guide, visit the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) website, Living Made Easy. The website's Bathing section has up-to-date reviews of specific products for bathing, showering and personal care.
You can look at aids and equipment at trade exhibitions such as Naidex.
Grants, loans and practical help
These are some sources of funding - most are intended to be used for adaptations to your home. The local authority grants described here are for England and Wales. Contact your local authority for more information or for equivalents in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Disabled Facilities Grant
This grant is for major work to help a disabled person live more independently. You can get the grant if you're a homeowner or a tenant, and your local authority decides that the work is necessary and reasonable. The amount you can get depends on your income and savings, and goes up to £30,000 in England and £36,000 in Wales. For more information, see the government web pages about Disabled Facilities Grants.
If you need financial help to carry out home repairs, you may be able to get up to £5,000 over three years. Contact your local authority's housing department for details of what's available in your area. You may be eligible if you receive pension credits or certain disability benefits.
Local 'Care and Repair' and home-improvement agency schemes help disabled and older people make their homes easier to live in. They have information about grants and may help you make an application or even help see the work through. They know about practical help available locally, such as Handyperson services that can carry out small DIY jobs for you.
To find the nearest, contact:
In Northern Ireland
If you own your own home and need to borrow money for structural changes, talk to your bank or building society. Some give interest-only loans to older people, against the value of the property. You pay interest, but the amount borrowed doesn't have to be repaid until the house is sold.
Libraries have directories of fund-giving organisations. The DLF has free factsheets on sources of finance for disabled people - you can download them from their Suppliers and sources of funding page.
You may need an assessment to support any application for money.
Know your consumer rights
Check to see if you know your rights when buying goods and services online or when visiting shops.
Go to consumer rights here.
Last updated: March 2016
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