Researching which independent living products are available can be empowering, but at the same time, knowing where to begin may be a daunting prospect. This is where we can help you.
Choosing home care products
- Research appropriate areas. On this website, we have divided products into separate rooms (see right) to give you a thorough overview as to what items are available to help your relative’s safety and wellbeing at home.
- You might also want to get some professional advice from an occupational therapist or physiotherapist.
Buying home care products
In each of the guides relating to ways to help your relative with day-to-day living, we give many suggestions for products that you can buy or sometimes hire. Whatever you and your relative are thinking about incorporating into their life – maybe a mobility aid, a new reclining chair, items to help prepare food more safely, a stair lift or bath hoist – there are several ways you can find out about where to buy them:
- Searching online, but bear in mind that, for example, searching for ‘bath seat’ online will bring up lots of links for baby bath seats, so it’s best to type in the term ‘bath seats for the elderly’.
- Using our Useful organisations and websites page. Here we give you a list of outlets, both online and shops and other places that you can visit, which specialise in home care products for older people.
We strongly recommend that you only buy larger pieces of equipment, such as a stair lift, from a supplier registered with the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA).
If your relative is registered disabled or has a chronic health condition, they can claim BAT exemption on certain mobility aids. Find out more at Claiming a VAT discount.
If you're looking after someone on a temporary basis, you might want to borrow equipment. Your local Red Cross can often lend wheelchairs and other equipment for short periods.
If the property isn't suitable for a conversion
If your relative’s property is not suitable for conversion, they may need to consider a move to a property that has already been adapted, or would be easier to adapt. Your relative might also want to consider sheltered housing. These properties have been created with older people in mind and are usually compact and easy to get around. Most have been built (or adapted) to suit people with reduced mobility or disabilities.
- Assistive technology can help your relative to feel safer at home.
- To find out what products would be most helpful for your relative, see Getting an assessment for equipment needs.
- If your relative has mobility problems, read our advice on Dealing with poor mobility and Using the stairs for practical advice on how to make life easier.
- You can read more about different types of home care products on the Which? Staying independent at home page.
Page last reviewed: 31 March 2015
Next review due: 30 October 2016