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Maintaining your home

Home is important to everyone’s contentment with life, but homes need effort and/or money to keep them safe, secure and in a good state of repair. For people with care needs this can be a challenge, and a home can easily turn into a prison or a burden. Help may well be at hand however.

Handyperson schemes

Minor maintenance tasks may be difficult but most local authorities and some social landlords will run handyperson schemes that can help with the smallest job at a minimal price. This can cover things like putting in place simple security precautions that give people greater peace of mind or even tasks like changing light-bulbs which can be very difficult if you cannot easily stand on a chair. Normally labour will be free if it is a quick job and you only pay for materials. If for some reason this service is not available there are likely to be a number of private sector suppliers of the same service.

Home Improvement Agencies

Home Improvement Agencies  (known as HIAs or Care and Repair) are charitably or publically funded organisations that exist to help older people or people with special needs to maintain their properties. They will visit, provide advice about how you could keep your home maintained, advice about how your home can be made safer, and where you can get the money from to help pay for any work needed. If you do need to employ a builder then they can act on your behalf in instructing them and monitoring the work they do.

If you meet the criteria for social care then you may qualify for simple aids and adaptations to your house to be fitted, such as grab rails, or ramps to help you get in and out, or fitting lever taps so that you can more easily turn them on or off.

You may have a local Disability Living Centre where you can go and look at equipment that might make doing things easier or where you can get advice about the range of help available.

It may be that you are finding it difficult to use the stairs or get in and out of the bath. Dealing with this may require more major adaptations to the property such as the construction of  a level-access shower, building an extension or redesigning your kitchen. In which case you might qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) from the Council. This can be for up to £30,000 (£36,000 in Wales) and the criteria are pretty broad, but the work will have to be recommended by an Occupational Therapist and the grant is means-tested. There will also be other places you can go for financial help including charities such as Independence at Home.

There may also be schemes which help with keeping gardens under control, and in particular Councils or other social landlords may provide help to tenants unable to maintain the garden for themselves.

Most sources of help available will be very locality-specific, and you are likely to need to make enquiries locally to follow up on any of these ideas. If you do want to find out more we suggest that you look at sources of advice and information first.

As with everything else the important thing is to carefully consider what the consequences of your situation are, what you want to do about it, what you want to achieve, and what resources you have available. Then with this information make a plan

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