Last updated: 13 September 2023

Next review: 13 September 2024

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 appropriate contractors 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 living 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, the housing association 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

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

Making a referral on behalf of someone else

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

For children under 18

Please contact Waltham Forest Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service (SEND) .

Waltham Forest Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service (SEND)

First floor

6 Linford Road
London E17 3LA

Need more advice?

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is about giving you support with particular activities.

Equipment to help with daily living

If you have substantial difficulties carrying out everyday tasks, we can provide advice and may be able to provide equipment and small adaptations to help you stay independent in your home.