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Home adaptations, equipment and aids

You can make changes to your home or get equipment to help you with day-to-day tasks and activities such as getting

  • in and out of your bath
  • around indoors or outdoors
  • dressed
  • on and off chairs
  • in and out of bed
  • making a hot drink or a meal
  • going up and down the stairs
  • using a telephone
  • watching television or listening

Types of equipment available

There are a range of things that you can buy to help you with

  • personal care and hygiene, such as grab rails, bath boards and raised toilet seats.
  • moving around the home, such as walking sticks, zimmer frames or hand rails.
  • preparing food, such as lever taps and adapted kitchen utensils.
  • beds and chairs, such as a bed raiser.
  • your safety and peace of mind for example if you had an injury or fall ill at home. Such as a alarms and telecare equipmentincluding vibrating alert alarms, personal loop systems for deaf/deafblind/hard of hearing people.

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Types of adaptation available

  • Minor adaptations such as fitting lever taps in the kitchen, installing a ramp to your front door, or hand rails around the home.
  • Major adaptations such as installing a downstairs shower room, widening doorways, or lowering the work tops in your kitchen.

Age UK England have a helpful factsheet on adapting your home.

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Choosing and buying your own equipment

You can find out what equipment you need by completing the free online self assessment tool Your Equipment Newcastle. You will receive tailored information to help you choose equipment for your home without having to wait for an assessment.

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Get advice on which equipment is right for you

It is important to get the right advice first, to avoid making an expensive mistake. There are a number of services that can offer advice or assessments to help make sure you choose the right equipment for your needs.

  • BLISS=Ability can advise you on what equipment is available and where you can get it from..
  • Care & Repair Newcastle offer advice, as well as offering a free loan to buy a stair lift or ceiling hoist. They manage the disabled facilities grant.
  • Disability North has a demonstration area with stair lifts, a kitchen, bathroom and shower as well as walkers, risers, shoes and wheelchairs.  They provide a local retailer list
  • Disabled Living Foundation provides advice about equipment for older and disabled people.
  • Equipment and Services Chat BOT – a virtual adviser that can direct you to services and equipment
  • Peacocks Medical Group have a shop in Newcastle City Centre where you can see and buy equipment.
  • RiDC conducts consumer research on products for older and disabled people. They have launched Rate It which enables you to read reviews of products by customers. They have produced a helpful guide to bath accessories to help you get in and out of the bath.
  • Your GP surgery  may be able to help you to get equipment through, for example, the Community Nursing Service.
  • provides an online self-help tool that provides professional advice and guidance for those who would like help to live independently at home.
  • Community Health & Social Care Direct can organise an occupational therapy needs assessment. Occupational Therapists assess and provide equipment and minor adaptations to enable you to live at home for longer
  • Disabled Services Centre have a wheelchair and specialist seating service. They work with patients, their family and carers in Newcastle and across the North East to help with mobility, comfort and support.

Equipment catalogues are available online from shops such as Boots or Argos. A number of charities also have catalogues of products such as Age UK England.

Buying second-hand equipment

Disability Equipment Service is the largest source of second-hand equipment for sale in the UK.

Disability North also list second-hand equipment for sale.

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Fitting your own equipment

It may be wise to arrange a needs assessment through Community Health & Social Care Direct first.  They will give you tailored information and advice to help you find the right equipment or aids.

Disability North can give advice on different types of equipment and adaptations, where to purchase it and how to arrange for the work to be done.

If you want to fit your own equipment, you can arrange for a reliable tradesperson or handyperson to carry out the work.  Find more information on our article Getting repairs and decorating done.

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Maintaining your equipment

Community Health and Social Care Direct can give you a list of companies who can help with maintaining your equipment.

Maintaining your stairlift

These organisations can help if your stairlift (or other types of equipment) need repairing or maintaining.  They will explain the cost of call out and repair:

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Hire equipment

It may be more cheaper to hire equipment such as wheelchairs, bathroom aids or walking frames if you only need it for a short time. You can hire equipment from

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Borrow equipment

Care & Repair Newcastle offer a free loan to buy a stair lift or ceiling hoist. To find out if you can have this you need to have a occupational therapy needs assessment.

Contact Community Health & Social Care Direct to ask for an assessment. If you need a stairlift or hoist they will install it for you for free. it’s not means-tested so there is no cost to get the equipment itself. They will also maintain it for you. They will remove the equipment when you request it.

Newcastle City Loan Equipment Service (NCLES) provides equipment to help with your daily living and nursing needs at home. They can install, maintain, repair, decontaminate and recycle a wide range of equipment. You need an assessment from a health professional to apply.

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Help to pay for equipment and adaptations

Community Health & Social Care Direct can arrange a free Needs Assessment, with a social worker or an Occupational Therapist. After your assessment, they will tell you about the equipment that is available. If you choose to have some equipment or adaptations, the Council will use their approved contractors to carry out the work for you, including placing the orders and managing the work.

It’s also a good idea to check you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to. You can use your Personal Budget to buy your own equipment.

Read more on InformationNOW on how to pay for adaptations to your home.

Home owners or private renters

If you live in your own home or in a privately rented property, you may be able to get a disabled facilities grant to help pay for equipment and adaptations, such as installing ramps, stairlifts and bathroom equipment costing over £1000.  It may be wise to arrange a needs assessment through Community Health & Social Care Direct first.  They will give you tailored information and advice to help you find the right equipment or aids.

Care & Repair England have a workbook which helps you to think about your Housing, Care and Related Finance in Later Life.

Council Tenants

If you live in a council house, you can ask Your Homes Newcastle to make the necessary adaptations to your home free of charge.

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Charities that help with equipment and aids

  • REMAP designs and provides free aids for disabled people.
  • Care & Repair Newcastle  with Newcastle Council offer a free loan to buy a stairlift.  Community Health & Social Care Direct will arrange an occupational therapy Needs Assessment to make sure you get the right product.
  • Royal British Legion support veterans to get funding and grants to adapt your home and receive new equipment.
  • Citizens Advice Newcastle has information on charities that can offer financial help to former employees from a particular trade who are struggling to pay for the items they need.
  • SSAFA Forces Help or ABF The Soldiers’ Charity may be able to help pay for equipment and adaptations if you are a veteran.
  • Caring Hands Charity offer a range of small equipment aids, free of charge and also offer some equipment aids for loan or sale. You can access this service with an assessment carried out by a social or health professional. See their website for further information.
  • There are a number of neurological charities that offer grants and loans.  For instance, MS Society and MND Association.  Your specialist nurse will have the relevant information.

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VAT relief on equipment

If you’re disabled or have a long-term illness, you won’t be charged VAT on products designed or adapted for your own personal or domestic use such as:

  • Mobility Scooters
  • Stairlifts
  • Wheelchairs

To get the product VAT free your disability has to qualify. For VAT purposes, you’re disabled or have a long-term illness if:

  • you have a physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities, eg blindness
  • you have a condition that’s treated as chronic sickness, like diabetes
  • you’re terminally ill

See for more information.

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Check you’re claiming the right benefits

There are various disability-related benefits that may be available to you including:

See for more information.

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Last updated: October 8, 2021