17512-an-elderly-woman-washing-produce-pv An investigation by Foundations has revealed the impact that government support for home adaptations can have on supporting independent living and delaying a move into residential care.

It shows that those who have had adaptations and later move into care do so some four years later than those who have not had adaptations carried out via Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).

DFG – the main source of government financial support for adaptations – not only helps people to stay in their own homes for longer, it can also generate substantial financial savings. The average DFG costs less than £7,000 compared with a residential care place costing around £29,000 a year.

Foundations – the national body for more than 200 not-for-profit home improvement and handyperson services throughout England  – has found that local authorities are starting to recognise the impact that DFG makes on their wider care costs.

Foundations submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all local authorities in England with social care responsibilities. The request asked councils to look at the care needs of people depending on whether they had previously applied for a DFG to pay for major adaptations.

For people who have had to move into residential care, those who had previously received a DFG on average moved just before their 80th birthday and stayed there for two years. Those who hadn’t applied for a DFG moved when they were 76 and stayed in residential care for another six years.

The investigation also showed that people who need care at home require fewer hours of home help following adaptations – saving around £1,300 per year on average.

The findings come at a significant anniversary – it is 25 years since DFG was introduced to offer financial support for home adaptations. Its launch marked a breakthrough for all those working to promote independent living.

Paul Smith, Director of Foundations, said: “It makes sense that adapting your home means that you can live there independently for longer, but this research indicates that modifications such as stairlifts, level access showers and ramps really do help to delay people moving into care homes – by four years.

“We have an ageing population and this brings growing financial pressure on both the public purse and the finances of individuals. That’s why enabling people to live in their own homes has never been more important – home adaptations via DFG offer a cost-effective and empowering solution.”