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Staying put, staying at home advice guide for older people

Selected guidance on staying in your own home and receiving domestic and home care services. Staying in your own home or moving? Is your present home suitable for you? Could alterations to your home help? What about home care?

Basic information on staying put

If you, an older person, find it difficult to manage at home there may be ways in which your life can be made easier or safer. If you have recently been unwell, or are coming out of hospital, you may be concerned about coping in the future. A variety of organisations can advise or help you on a range of options, depending on your needs and circumstances. You may wish to approach social services to find out about receiving care at home, but there is a range of other or complementary options that may be of more direct assistance to you.

The main issue may be the unsuitability of your present home in which you would like to stay. There are many ways the home may be made more suitable if you want to stay put - with repairs, adaptations, improved heating, security works, or telecare or an alarm system as appropriate, or with changes to the garden to reduce maintenance.

Repairs and adaptations

People can choose to arrange changes for themselves, if they are able and can afford it, but as a starting point it is usually a good idea to see if there is a local Home Improvement Agency (HIA), sometimes called a Staying Put or Care and Repair agency. HIAs can advise on necessary building works, including builders' lists and possible grants. Some HIAs, for a fee, offer a full agency service organising and supervising works if required. You can find your local HIA using our home improvement agency search.

It may also be possible to find reputable builders or tradesmen through Trustmark - www.trustmark.org.uk or tel. 0870 163 7373.

Handyperson Schemes

HIAs or other local agencies also sometimes run handyperson schemes, which can include for example minor plumbing and carpentry jobs, security works, putting up curtain rails. Your local Age Concern will be able to advise of any similar schemes in your area. Handyperson Schemes may be available for people who rent or own their property; this need to be checked with your local agency. You can find your local HIA using our home improvement agency search.

Heating and Energy Efficiency

The Energy Saving Advice Service - or tel. 0300 123 1234 - can provide advice on energy efficiencies, insulation and heating measures to both home owners and tenants.

The Home Heat Helpline - or tel. 0800 33 66 99 - can advise on grants for insulation and a range of services for elderly or disabled customers from fuel companies.

Security and Safety

The Crime Prevention Officer at the local police station will be able to give advice.

You can have an alarm system (often called community alarm) installed through the telephone line, so that you can call for help if you fall, or are taken ill or suspect an intruder. Calls are routed to a monitoring centre that is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alarm systems are available from local councils, and from charities and commercial providers.

Independence and health

Telecare (often called assistive technology) is a term to cover a variety of equipment to help people retain their independence. It includes basic sensors to detect gas or smoke, but also more sophisticated equipment to remind people to take their medication or to detect wandering. Contact your GP, your local authority or the Disabled Living Foundation www.dlf.org.uk/ or 0845 130 9177.

Factsheets on staying put

More information on staying put

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