26 September 2013

City residents see more than 1,000 home adaptations to boost independent living

More than 1,000 life-changing housing adaptations such as ramps and grab rails have been installed by Brighton & Hove City Council to help people with disabilities in their homes.

Running to a total cost of £2.39 million, the adaptations were across council and private homes. This comprised 854 adaptations in council homes, investing £1.3 million and in addition the team completed 149 disabled facilities grants, grant-aided major adaptations in the private sector, investing £1 million.

In council homes this work included 371 major works and 483 minor changes to help local community groups become more inclusive.

Adaptations include providing ramp access, adding handrails, widening doors, raising electrical sockets, replacing a bath with a level access shower, or installing special equipment for people with hearing or visual difficulties

Waiting lists have also been significantly reduced as Brighton & Hove City Council housing staff have been trained to carry out assessments for minor adaptations, speeding up the process to have improvements such as grab rails and raised electrical sockets fitted.

Whether residents own or rent their home, have a council home, a housing association or rent privately, Brighton & Hove City Council can be approached to help make life easier and to help residents live independently.

Alison Gray, Chair of the Tenant Disability Network for Brighton & Hove, was brought in to advise and guide council officers in the commissioning of specialist firms to install the adaptations.

Alison said: “It was great to be so involved, as a tenant living with disabilities and as chair of the network I have a lot of experience to offer. I look forward to more opportunities like this, and hope that other tenants will put themselves forward in areas that touch their lives.

The council also provide free of charge the Carelink community alarm system for out of hours support in all it’s sheltered housing, and many tenants will opt for further help from this organisation especially when living alone.

Cllr Bill Randall, Chair of the Housing Committee, said:

“This is brilliant news and potentially life changing for so many of our residents facing difficult physical challenges. Having a plug socket at the right height, a grab rail to make getting in and out of the bath easier or a doorway wide enough for a wheelchair can make a real difference.

“We’re delivering new ‘lifetime homes’ that mean residents can live independently for longer when their mobility is impaired, but of course many homes have to be adapted. Where possible we ensure that adaptations are not wasted so that people that have certain needs are matched with properties that cater for those.”

 

Real stories - new wet room

John and Maisy Gallway live in a ground floor council flat in Woodingdean, and have been very happy, until John’s health began to fail a couple of years ago. “I would struggle to get in and out of the bath, and I would often slip over, which put extra strain on my wife who was always having to help me up.” John and Maisy applied to the council for help and an assessment showed that a new wet room would be the answer. “Our quality of life has improved beyond measure”, says John, who is now able to shower when he likes independently and safely.

Carelink Community Alarm in bathroom  - continued from above

Stephen Sewell lives on his own in a housing association flat in central Brighton, and wants to remain independent despite having suffered a severe stroke a year ago. However, after an ordeal when he found himself unable to get out of his bath for several hours he realised he needed some help. Stephen contacted Carelink through the council and after a home assessment from the team, Stephen was given a Carelink pendant to wear round his neck and a telephone line was installed for a waterproof Carelink alarm system in the bathroom. Stephen said, “It’s good to know help is at hand in an emergency. I don’t want to have to rely on a carer so this is just right for me.”

 

CareLink are contracted to provide out of hours community alarm care in the council’s sheltered housing schemes, but can provide 24-hour, seven day community alarm service if wanted. The pendant allows people to summon help from anywhere in the home or garden.

 

Residents can find out about adaptations by calling Access Point on 01273 295555 or email accesspoint@brighton-hove.gov.uk. to arrange a visit from the team.

 

To find out about the range of help that CarelinkPlus can offer call (01273) 673105, email CareLinkPlus@brighton-hove.gov.uk  

 

For more general information visit: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/housing/adaptations