If you find it difficult to live at home but do not want to move out, you can make your life easier and safer in several ways.

These include:

  • Security
  • Making adaptations to your home
  • Check your health
  • Claim all your benefits
  • Seek additional assistance with everyday living


The fear of crime can be terribly stressful. But by contacting your local police station and asking for a visit by the crime prevention officer, the fear can be partially assuaged. The crime prevention officer will give you advice about home security and maybe able to arrange for extra security to be fitted, especially to doors and windows.

If you are frail and live on your own, have a community alarm fitted. This allows you to call for help 24 hours a day if you have an accident or are unwell.

Making adaptations to your home

Your local authority or NHS may provide equipment and household adaptations, such as grab rails, toilet and bath seats or stair lifts.

In such cases the local authority will assess your needs. To do this, an occupational therapist will visit you and give advice on which equipment best suits your needs. But this is subject to your local authority’s eligibility criteria, so it is not guaranteed the council will provide any equipment.

Elsewhere, retailer B&Q is making products for the bathroom, kitchen, home and garden aimed at older people who struggle with conventional appliances.

From simple devices such as an electrical plug with a handle, to walk-in baths or height-adjustable kitchen units, many products are now on the market to help make life easier. These range in cost from a few pounds to more than £1,500 for larger items.

If these larger items are too expensive, contact the Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs). HIAs are not-for-profit organisations that assist vulnerable homeowners or private sector tenants to repair, improve, maintain or adapt their home. Contact your local council for more information on HIAs.

You may also be able to get a grant or loan from your local council to make repairs or adapt your home. But this depends on your finances, where you live and whether you are a homeowner or tenant. Click here to visit the finance section for more information on grants.

For helpful advice click here for the Elderly Accommodation Council’s housing options appraisal tool. This can also be printed out, completed and posted to the EAC for advice.

Check your health

To stay in your own home as long as possible ensure your health is as good as it can be.

Contact your GP to ask for a check-up and get advice on any health conditions you have or perhaps arrange to see a chiropodist, district nurse, health visitor or physiotherapist.

Likewise, regular visits to the opticians can help to avoid potential problems – failing eyesight is a common reason for accidents among older people. This does not have to be expensive – pensioners receive free eye tests and can claim help with the cost of lenses and glasses.

In winter, it is important to stay warm; the cold is responsible for about 25,000 deaths of older people each year. Installing loft or cavity wall insulation – which is often free to homeowners aged over 70 – can make a big difference, not only to the warmth of your house, but also to heating bills.

Claim your benefits

There are many benefits available to older people to help with the costs of living, yet Help the Aged says about £4.5 billion worth of benefits go unclaimed each year.
From Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, through to Attendance Allowance, there are many benefits that can be claimed. Contact your local benefits agency to find out which you may be entitled to.

Detailed information on the benefits available to older people, how much they are worth and a guide to eligibility criteria are covered in our finance section.

Seek additional assistance with every day living

Your local authority should be able to advise you on the services it provides, such as home care, and on where you can get advice about other providers and voluntary organisations in your area. Other local services that may be able to help include gardening support, and companion and shopping services. We have a separate section on care at home that gives much more detailed information on more formal care options.