Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Making bathing easier - who can help?

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

Social services

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.

Occupational therapists

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.

Online advice

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. 

Exhibitions

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.

Home-repair assistance

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 schemes

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 England

Foundations
Foundations
Bleaklow House
Howard Town Mill
Glossop
Derbyshire
SK13 8HT

United Kingdom

Tel: 

0845 864 5210

In Wales

Care & Repair Cymru
Care & Repair Cymru
2 Ocean Way
Cardiff
CF24 5TG

United Kingdom

Tel: 

029 2067 4830

Fax: 

029 2067 4801

In Scotland

Care & Repair Scotland
Care & Repair Scotland
135 Buchanan Street
Suite 2.5
Glasgow
G1 2JA

United Kingdom

Tel: 

0141 221 9879

Fax: 

0141 221 9885

In Northern Ireland

Fold Group (Northern Ireland)
Fold Group (Northern Ireland)
3-7 Reburn Square
Holywood
BT18 9HZ

United Kingdom

Tel: 

028 9042 8314

Fax: 

028 9042 8167

Interest-only loans

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.

Charitable grants

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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