Living independently

No matter how grand or humble your home, you cherish it and want to live in it for as long as possible.  After all you’ve spent a long time getting it just the way you want it.  If you are reaching the grand old age of ‘senior citizen’ or older, you might not find it as easy to manage your ‘castle’ as you used to.  You might need to make some adjustments to your home.

Independent living

Everyone strives to stay living independently in their own homes whatever their age or condition.  The need to remain in your home is as great for those with disabilities as it is for those who are aging and finding the going tougher.

Image: Flickr - NHS Confederation
Image: Flickr – NHS Confederation

This month there is some good news on this front.  In a new directive issued by the Minister of State for Care and Support, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb released £300 million.  The money is available to applicants wishing to develop or refurbish apartments and houses for these two categories, so that they can remain living independently for longer.

Loadsa money

£300 million sounds pretty generous and Lamb estimates that ‘thousands of homes’ could be made available, “Most people want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, and as the population ages more and more of us will need housing that supports us.

“Our £300 million fund will help create thousands of homes, providing people with more choice and an alternative to residential care.”

Personal advice

Unfortunately the money isn’t available to individuals just to developers.  If however you are looking for advice about how to make the most of your home and stay there longer, social services may be able to help you.  The NHS website has some useful tips too about organisations that might be able to help you such as the Disabled Living Foundation.  They have some great advice on their website which can help you decide what you need.  You could also speak to a doctor about it.

Your local social services department can conduct a ‘health and social care assessment’ to see just what you need to live independently.  They may also be able to offer some financial support to make your accommodation suitable.  For instance:

  • To widen doors and install ramps
  • To provide or improve access to rooms and facilities, for example, by installing a stairlift or providing a downstairs bathroom
  • To improve or provide a heating system that suits your needs
  • To adapt heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
  • To improve access to and movement around the home to enable you to care for another person who lives in the property, such as a child

Of course none of these are a foregone conclusion but depend upon assessment.


300/365 - February 28, 2009

Don’t forget to check or ask someone to help you check if you are entitled to any other financial help.  There are a number of benefits that you can claim depending on your age, your mobility and if you need carers.

Let’s hope that £300 million is put to good use soon.