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Adapting your home

People who live with a long term health or physical condition can experience difficulty getting around their home or completing everyday tasks independently and safely.

You may be starting to think that your home isn’t suitable for you anymore. If so, adapting it or moving to a readily adapted home could be an option for you.

Adapting your own home

You can speak to an occupational therapist who will provide you with expert advice to help you make a decision about the changes you need to make in your home to further enable your independence.

They may suggest adaptations such as:

  • portable access ramps
  • grab rails around the home
  • reducing the height of steps

You may also consider undertaking more major adaptations to meet your longer term needs that will involve building works to change the layout of your property. This might include:

  • widening doorways so you can use a wheelchair
  • permanent ramping
  • replacing bath or shower unit with a walk in level access shower
  • adding a downstairs toilet, bathroom or bedroom so you don't have to use the stairs
  • installing low level kitchen units.

An occupational therapist will provide you with advice and information as to what adaptations are best suited to your individual needs.

To make these changes you’ll also need advice from a qualified builder.

Buying or renting an already adapted home

Some homes have already been adapted. You can look online or in your local paper for suitable houses, bungalows or flats to buy. These are normally within special developments.

If you want to rent a home, you can contact your local housing association who will help you find a more suitable property.

How we provide adaptations

Minor adaptations

Our external providers Medequip will fit small minor adaptations, such as stair and grab rails, to improve your safety if recommended by an occupational therapist.

Arrangements will be made for these to be installed.

Major adaptations via a Disabled Facility Grant (DFG)

Recommendations for improving access to your home and facilities may also be made. Examples of major works include, widening doorways, installing ramps (for a permanent wheelchair-user) and stair-lifts.

The responsibility and process for providing any adaptations will depend on who owns your property. It will be funded either by the landlord if you live in a council or housing association property, or through a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) if you’re an owner occupier or private tenant.

We use external contractors via Metropolitan Home improvement agency to do major pieces of work if adaptation such as wheelchair access, or a walk in shower is required, as recommended by an occupational therapist.

Adaptations are not provided to people residing in a residential or nursing home.

Paying towards the service

The advice and assessment is free.

If you’re a council tenant, adaptations to your property are free.

If you’re a housing association tenant, they will make their own funding arrangements.

Adaptations in private or rented properties are free up to a certain value. Staff will give you further advice.

How to get this service

People aged over 18 can self-refer to the integrated occupational therapy service by calling Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000.

A general practitioner, family member or other professional can also make a referral on behalf of the person.

Download and complete the Disability Referral Form (word doc 136KB) and return to:

Access and Assessment Team
Willow House
869 Forest Road
Walthamstow
London E17 4UH

For children under 18:

First Response Team – Children
Juniper House
PO Box 856
Walthamstow
London E17 9PN

Phone: 020 8496 3000

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