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Moving safely around my home and neighbourhood


Mobility, sight loss or balance problems can make moving around your home or community difficult and sometimes frightening.

There is a lot of equipment which can make living in your house easier and safer. Simple equipment like a walking frame or a walking stick may make a big difference. There are also larger pieces of equipment like portable ramps, specialist rise and recline chairs, stair climbers and stairlifts.

Some of these solutions are expensive and not suitable for everybody, so before buying anything contact the Independent Living Centre and talking to an occupational therapist about the right solutions for your specific needs. Phone the Independent Living Centre on 01392 380181 or email ilc-exeter@devon.gov.uk

For a few people the best option may be moving to different accommodation, if you are considering this, it’s important to get some independent advice. Make sure you explore all the options for equipment and adapting your home first – you may be able to make simple improvements which mean that you don’t need to move.

You can get independent information about getting equipment and adapting your home from Age UK at www.ageuk.org.uk/home-and-care/adapting-your-home

Equipment

There is a lot of equipment which can make living in your house easier and safer.

For some people, simple equipment like a walking frame or a walking stick may make a big difference. There are also larger pieces of equipment like portable ramps, specialist rise and recline chairs, stair climbers and stairlifts.

Some of these solutions are expensive and not always suitable, but there are lots of cheap options which can make a big difference. Before buying anything phone the Independent Living Centre and talk to an occupational therapist about the right solutions for your specific needs. Phone the Independent Living Centre on 01392 380181 or email ilc-exeter@devon.gov.uk

Sight loss

If your sight is getting worse equipment can help you to navigate your home and community safely. A white cane will let you feel obstacles in front of you and let other pedestrians know that you need more space.

A ROVI (Rehabilitation Officer with people who are Visually Impaired) can talk to you about suitable equipment and help you to learn to use them effectively. To speak to a ROVI about equipment that could help you contact the Devon Sensory Team by phoning 0345 1551 007 or emailing csc.caredirect@devon.gov.uk.

Falls alarms

Pendant alarms and monitors can be a simple way to make living at home safer. The button on the pendant alarm can be pushed when you fall or are unable to get to the telephone, and the alarm can alert a relative, a carer or a 24 hour call centre.

Other equipment can be installed to monitor your movements at home and alert a carer if you fall or are in danger.

There are a range of alarms available with different features and at different prices. To see what is available and try out an alarm phone the Independent Living Centre on 01392 380181 or email ilc-exeter@devon.gov.uk

Home adaptations

A home adaptation could be as simple as adding some grab rails to help you get in and out of the bath safely. You may also want to consider adding ramps, widening doorways for walkers or wheelchairs, or moving switches or plug sockets. Phone the Independent Living Centre on 01392 380181 or email ilc-exeter@devon.gov.uk to discuss the options and find local suppliers.

An Independent Living Centre occupational therapist can also talk to you about making changes to the layout of your home; often small changes to the location of furniture and key items can make a big difference.

You can find local companies who provide repair and adaptation services at devon.cc/repairandadaptation

Sight loss

There are specific adaptations which can help you stay at home with sight loss. This could be increasing the amount of natural light in your home, improving the level of artificial lighting, and changing the colour scheme in your home so that you can tell the difference between rooms.

A ROVI (Rehabilitation Officer with people who are Visually Impaired) can help you find the best adaptations for you. To speak to a ROVI about equipment that could help you contact the Devon Sensory Team by phoning 0345 1551 007 or emailing csc.caredirect@devon.gov.uk

The RNIB has information about adaptations you can make and funding that may be available to help you pay for them. Visit www.rnib.org.uk/information-everyday-living-home-and-leisure/adapting-your-home

Paying for home adaptations

If you’re a local authority or housing association tenant and you have a disability you could be eligible to have adaptations paid for through a Disabled Facilities Grant. This is available through your local district council. Find out more at www.gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants/overview.

If you’re disabled or have a long-term illness you won’t pay VAT on certain products and associated installation or building work, such as ramps and door widening. Find out more from www.gov.uk/financial-help-disabled/vat-relief.

Help from social care

If you think you may be eligible for help from social care services you will need to have a full social care needs assessment. If the assessment shows that you have eligible needs which can best be met through a small equipment solution or a minor adaptation this could be provided free of charge. More information about assessments can be found at new.devon.gov.uk/adultsocialcareandhealth/assessments-for-care or by phoning 0345 1551 007.

Moving home

You may decide that your best option would be to move to a smaller home, a place nearer family or amenities, or to a property that has some support available onsite.

You may want to find out more about things like extra care housing, supported living, sheltered housing and housing association properties. Find out more about your housing options at new.devon.gov.uk/adultsocialcareandhealth/housing-options.

Age UK has independent information at www.ageuk.org.uk/home-and-care/housing-choices

Which? has detailed information about housing choices at www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/housing-options

We would always recommend getting independent financial advice before making any big decision about your living arrangements. Find out more about help with finances at new.devon.gov.uk/adultsocialcareandhealth/factsheet/money-and-benefits.

Find services, groups and clubs in Devon on the Pinpoint website

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