Equipment, adaptations and improvements to the home

Most people with dementia wish to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, but as a person’s dementia progresses they may find everyday tasks more difficult. These can range from using the stairs to taking medication. Using equipment and making adaptations to the home environment can help someone to continue to do things for themselves for longer. This can help the person with dementia to stay independent, and can offer family and carers the reassurance of the person’s safety and security.

This page looks at various pieces of equipment, and how different parts of the home can be adapted. It also looks at sources of support and advice, and explains how you can get hold of equipment, including help from the NHS and social services, as well as financial support that may be available.

Much of what is covered in this page – for example, supporting a person with bathing or someone who has restricted movement – is also often relevant to older people who might not have dementia. In this page, ‘equipment’ refers to things like walking sticks and frames, bath steps and non-spill cups – more low-tech items designed to assist people with mainly physical difficulties.

Technological and often electronic items that are designed to help people with cognitive or memory problems are classed as ‘assistive technology’ and are not discussed in this page. For more information on these see Assistive technology. It may help to read both pages together.

Everyone with dementia experiences the condition differently. What may be useful for one person may not be appropriate for another. The needs of each person will also change as their dementia progresses. Not everything included in this page will be of use to everyone, but it can help to know what is available.

Keep in mind that equipment will not be the answer to every problem. You might find that changing the way you do something is enough and works for you and the person with dementia. For example, someone who has trouble sitting in the bath may find it easier to have a shower in a standing position. It is also important to recognise that a piece of equipment may help the person to be safer and more independent, but it is not a guarantee of their safety.