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Policy actions 3 of 4

Housing adaptations

Housing adaptations make an important contribution to supporting older people and disabled people to live safely, comfortably and independently at home.

Examples of housing adaptations include:

  • replacing a bath with a level access shower
  • improving access to the home by widening doors or constructing a ramp
  • fitting lower work surfaces to make the kitchen easier to use

These alterations are preventative measures. They help to reduce the number of emergency hospital admissions through falls and other accidents, and also reduce the need for home care or long-term admission to a care home.

Investment in housing adaptations

The Adaptations Working Group (AWG) was set up in 2011. Its remit was to explore ways to achieve the best possible outcomes for older people and disabled people from investment in housing adaptations.

It made a number of recommendations in these reports:

Our 2013 response to the 'Adapting for change' report welcomed the recommendations which we are working on in partnership with local authorities, housing associations, service users and others.

Pilot schemes

Adapting for Change

Five test sites across the country (Borders, Fife, Falkirk, Aberdeen and Lochaber) are currently piloting the AWG's recommendations. We are working with health, social care and third sector organisations, like Care and Repair Scotland, in each area to test the working group's recommendations.

The pilot will continue in 2017, after which it will be evaluated and followed by a consultation before we issue new guidance on good practice.

Help to Adapt

The Help to Adapt scheme is underway in response to the AWG's Planning Ahead paper. It focuses on the need to plan ahead for older age and consider whether changes need to be made to the home to help people live there for as long as possible.

Help to Adapt can help older homeowners use the equity in their properties to pro-actively adapt their homes.

Organisations including Housing Options Scotland and Capability have contributed their views to the development process so far. Age Scotland's housing panels (in various locations across the country) have also been consulted.