Staying independent at home – how home adaptations can help

Home is a central feature of our life…

Home is our sanctuary. A safe place to weather the storms of life. If you have lived there a long time, it’s a place filled with memories. That is why we feel so strongly about helping people to stay in the comfort of their own homes and live independently for longer. This is where home adaptations come in.

In later life, most of us will be affected by health and mobility issues that limit our ability to look after ourselves as we once did. But there are many modifications that can be done around the house to make it more accessible. We want to enable you to carry on living in the place you love. In the last 30 years, we have helped thousands of people to make changes. Things like garage conversions, home extensions, widening doorways, bathroom adaptations, downstairs toilets, hand rails, and anything else you may need.

‘Thinking about the future’

By working with We Care Home Improvements, not only will the end result be life-changing, but we also take care of the whole process from start to finish. It’s our aim to provide you with complete peace of mind. We can provide minor adaptations, like grab rails and ramps or manage larger projects.

Your personal project manager will work with you to assess your needs and create a completely bespoke home improvement plan for you. They will also manage all the tradespeople and ensure that they get a fair price and the work is done to an excellent standard. We always work with people we trust who will respect your home. So you can rest assured that everyone we work with has been vetted through a rigorous process by our team.

Next steps

Let us help you to stay living independently at home – for longer…

  • Simply call us on 0300 323 0700 for a no-obligation chat with our team to find out how we can help you. We are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
  • Or send us a message and we can get in touch with you.
  • Alternatively, you can visit our Bristol showroom to see some examples of our beautiful bathrooms and talk to our friendly and knowledgeable team. Contact the team to arrange an appointment.

Our ‘Housing Options’ working with our clients

Elizabeth was originally referred to WECHI after being admitted to Southmead Hospital and needing some cleaning and clearing work carried out at the property before being able to return home safely.

This work was completed using our Hospital Discharge funding. The original referral from the Hospital also mentioned that client would be open to advice on a move to more suitable accommodation.

I made an appointment to visit client with a view to discussing her current housing situation and advise what our Housing Options Service could assist in way of support. During the visit Elizabeth advised me she had lived in the two bedrooms first floor flat for the last 30 years, having first moved there with her late father.

The after affects of a fall have severely restricted her mobility and with no lift negotiating the stairs to the flat has become a very difficult and painful task.

It had also contributed to her becoming lonely and isolated in her current flat, and only going out to hospital appointments with assistance from ambulance crew. We discussed possible options for more suitable housing to make life easier and safer for her in the future. She wanted to remain in the same area of Bristol and live independently preferably in a Ground Floor Flat, or a complex with a lift. Arrangements were made with three Estate Agents to obtain valuations of her current property, and client then chose her preferred selling Agent. A buyer was found quite quickly who offered the full asking price, and we then began the search for an alternative property.

As an offer had been accepted on her property, we had a budget to base our search criteria. As she was an internet user, Elizabeth was able to use the Property search engines in the hunt for somewhere more suitable. I also assisted with this task and we both identified a One Bedroom Ground Floor Flat in Henleaze that provided most of her requirements. I made the necessary arrangements with the selling Agent to view the property and accompanied her to the viewing. The property provided many of Elizabeth’s requirements and she was keen to purchase the property. After some negotiations an offer was accepted on the Flat. I then obtained quotes for the conveyancing work and the sale and purchase was able to proceed. While the conveyancing was taking place arrangements were made for Removal quotes, and preparations made in advance of moving date. After a few hiccups during the conveyancing process the relevant transactions were completed, and the various tasks of changing address and notifying service providers were undertaken.

As there was going to be some residue from the property transactions Elizabeth would be able to spend some money on adapting the bathroom to meet her needs, while also acquiring other items to make her life easier and safer.

I arranged for the installation of new white goods, also replacement blinds that were easier to use. One of our Trusted Electrical Contractors made some additions to the electrics to eliminate trailing wires for client’s laptop. Our Handypersons Service were able to lower window handles and adjust internal doors. Arrangements were also made for a Recliner Chair Supplier to visit the property and demonstrate to Elizabeth the various options prior to making a purchase. I was also able to recommend a Cleaning Company to visit on a regular basis to carry out domestic work in the flat. The final piece of work was the bathroom adaptation, which involved the removal of the bath and the installation of a level access shower. WECHI were able to arrange for this work be done and the finished bathroom allows Elizabeth to use the shower safely and independently.

This case shows what a difference our Housing Options Funding can make to an individual’s life and help future proof them for the years ahead. I will leave the last word to Elizabeth who informed me of “how happy and pleased she was with her new flat, and the positive difference it had made to her life”.






    Everything you need to know about adapted bathrooms

    Adapted bathrooms can help make life easier

    It’s something that none of us relishes the thought of, but in later life small everyday activities can become much harder.

    Your bathroom can often be the first place that becomes more challenging for you to use. You may find things like getting in and out of a bath can suddenly make washing very difficult. This is when many people benefit from bathroom improvements such as hand rails, grab rails, easy access (sometimes called level-access) showers or wet rooms.

    At We Care Home Improvements our focus is to give you the freedom to live independently and safely in your own home. Even simple changes in your bathroom can be life-changing.

    Are adapted bathrooms clinical looking and unattractive?

    We have helped customers with adapted bathrooms for over 30 years. We always work very closely with our customers, considering their needs and considerations every step of the way. Just because you are having an accessible or adapted bathroom, that doesn’t mean you want your home to look less stylish than it did before. At the core of what we do is to make sure your new bathroom is not only designed for your needs, but it’s also designed beautifully. We take pride in offering bathrooms that are both practical and contemporary in their look and feel.

    Do I need to get in lots of different quotes from tradespeople?

    No! Everything is taken care of. Your own dedicated project manager will ensure that you receive a bathroom design completely tailored to your needs. Both now and in the future.

    We have a team of trusted tradespeople that we regularly work with providing great quality at a fair price. We understand how important it is to be able to trust the people who come into your home. That’s why our preferred builders and plumbers are all personally vetted by us. We’ll take charge of everything, from quotes and timings and liaising with your contractor until your bathroom is complete.

    You will be kept informed every step of the way so there is no confusion. You can rest assured that our priority is to make the least disruption possible in your home.

    Next steps

    • Simply call us on 0300 323 0700 for a no-obligation chat with our team to find out how we can help you. We are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
    • Or send us a message and we can get in touch with you.
    • You can also visit our Bristol showroom. Call to book an appointment. There we have examples of our beautiful bathrooms and you can talk to our friendly and knowledgeable team.

    B&NES Affordable Warmth Grant

    The Council’s affordable warmth grant is available for lower cost measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation,  and repairs to heating and windows. Households with an annual income and savings of less than £30,000 may be eligible for a grant towards home insulation or low carbon heating improvements.

    Register your interest here!

    What is the difference between a walk-in shower and a level access shower?

    We are often asked what the difference is between the level access showers that we install and a normal walk-in shower. It’s important to understand the difference, as well as the safety advantage of having level access.

    impey we care home improvements level access shower wet room
    The latest in stylish level access shower wet rooms

    Level access means no tray to step over

    The classic difference between a walk-in shower and a level access shower is that a walk-in shower has a tray that catches the water whereas a level access shower doesn’t have any tray or lip to step over to get in. The tray itself has been sunk into the waterproofed floor below the shower, allowing the user to just walk straight in.

    If you have any questions, you can reach the bathrooms team ‘HERE’

    What’s a wet room? It’s the same thing

    Level access shower rooms are also known as wet rooms. Many people are concerned about having a wet room because it suggests that the shower itself isn’t enclosed. We’re much more used to seeing showers in their own corner of the room. A lot of our clients ask whether the shower will be discreet, whether the water will splash everywhere, and if it’ll look stylish.

    Your wet room is built around you

    Your new bathroom being a “wet room” doesn’t mean that the shower won’t have its own defined area within the bathroom. The main showering area where the water is will often be separated from the rest of the bathroom by a screen. There are a variety of designs available so you can choose something that fits in with the bathroom as it is, or suits the style you are going for. The non-slip flooring included is designed in a clever way to let the water run away easily and not pool on the floor. It’s built around you and your needs.

    impey we care home improvements stylish wet room
    Your shower room – your style

    Cleaning a level access shower is a doddle

    If you’re looking for a shower room that’s easy to clean and maintain, we can install panels instead of tiles. Not only are panels the latest in modern bathing room fashion, but they also don’t get mouldy like grout. No bleach cleaners required! The same goes for the non-slip flooring. If you find it tough keeping your tiled bathroom walls clean then panels are the way forward.

    Stylish showers to suit you

    Panels or tiles can come in various styles from simple to luxury finishes. Non-slip safety flooring also comes in a huge range of colours to suit any taste. The days of accessible bathrooms looking clinical are long gone. You can make your wet room look like the bathroom from a boutique hotel!

    impey we care home improvements accessible level access shower room
    Safety, comfort and style go hand in hand in modern bathrooms

    A modern bathing solution that’s safe for all to use

    Level access showers are also easier to install in rooms that are tight on space. So if you’re looking to adapt a small downstairs room into an accessible shower room we’d always recommend level access. Likewise, for wheelchair users it is the easiest and safest solution. No need for ramps or negotiating over lips to get in. Carers can also find them a lot easier to use. With movable panels of different sizes you can make the space or gain the access that’s needed.

    Minimal disruption – easy to install

    Depending on what is required, a full wet room isn’t something that will take a long time to install. Modern shower and wet room systems can be fitted within days instead of weeks, depending on the size of the room and anything else that needs to be adapted or installed to support having a shower in the room. Rest assured that you’ll never be without a working toilet when we leave, or access to the toilet whilst we are working.

    Ask us anything

    We’re happy to answer any questions you have about level access showers and what is possible in your home. Our friendly knowledgeable bathrooms team will be with you every step of the way.

    With over 30 years experience in home improvements, you can trust us to get it right. Call us on 0300 323 0700 or complete the contact form below to arrange an obligation free chat.






      How do you go about insulating your home?

      When it comes to home insulation, we’ve got over 30 years of expertise. Here’s a guide to cover all the bases.

      So you might be feeling extra cold this winter, or noticing drafts in your home. Even if you aren’t, if your home isn’t insulated then you are wasting energy and money heating your property. That’s why insulating your home is essential. Some fixes are very cheap and easy to do, but others are a bit more time consuming and expensive. However, it’s worth it in the long run for staying nice and toasty and keeping those energy bills down. We’ll go through some ways you can cut the cost of these essential improvements in this article.

      Contact our project management team ‘HERE’

      It’s important to insulate your home’s walls

      Many people don’t realise that the most heat in a property is lost through the walls – around 35% to be precise. However, wall insulation is a big and expensive job. Most new build houses will have insulation built-in, but older properties will most likely not have any at all.

      Luckily, cavity walls can be filled with insulation materials quite easily. Solid walls can be dry-lined with thermal plasterboard, but this does add a little thickness to the walls, decreasing floor space. Radiators, sockets and the like might need to be moved to accommodate for the dry lining too.

      Our surveyors are well versed in all manner of techniques for insulating your walls. They’ll visit your home and carry out a full assessment to let you know in honesty what needs to be done.

      Doors and windows – quick and not-so-quick fixes

      The next highest amount of heat lost is roughly 25% through doors and windows. An easy way to keep the warm air in and the cold air out is by installing draught excludes. You can buy self-adhesive draught excluding strips from most DIY retailers, or our handyperson team can install some permanent ones for you, made to measure. Internal and external doors should have draught excluders to keep the heat in the room you need it in.

      Most of us are aware of the benefits of double and triple glazed windows. These types of windows are manufactured with two or three panes of glass sealed in to a frame before it even reaches your house. A professional fitter will need to install these, and you can expect to get on average about 20 years out of your new windows.

      You can also opt to have secondary glazing fitted over your existing windows, which is cost effective and can be a DIY job for someone with the right skills. However, they are a little more effort to clean and maintain compared to double or triple glazing.

      The loft. Don’t mind the spiders, just think of the money you’ll save on your heating bill!

      Up to another quarter of your home’s heat is lost through the roof, so you’d be wise not to neglect the loft when it comes to energy-saving improvements. Many homes already have insulation up there, which can last a good 40 years after being laid. But over time it may have degraded, been compressed by floorboards, or need extra laid down. New layers can be added on top of existing insulation, so it might not be as expensive a job as you’re expecting.

      home loft insulation being laid
      Loft insulation being laid

      Floors lose a surprising amount of heat

      Up to 15% of the heat in a house is lost through the floor. Modern houses generally have floor insulation in-built, but in older houses they are often uninsulated. If you’ve got a good carpet and decent underlay, this is often enough to stop the heat escaping.

      Much like walls, floorboards can be lifted and a suspended floor can be filled with insulation material. A solid floor can have an insulated suspended floor built on top of it, but this is a fair amount of work.

      Lagging pipes and tanks – key in insulating your home

      Lagging is placing a jacket or sleeve of insulating material over tanks, pipes and cylinders. Cold and hot water pipes should have lagging to stop heat escaping or pipes freezing. This is particularly important in places like the loft or anywhere where there is minimal heating. Our handyperson and technical team can help you with this and identify the crucial pipes and cisterns that need it the most.

      Worried about the cost? You don’t need to

      Our handyperson service might be able to offer you a subsidised rate for the services we provide. If you’re living in Bristol and on pension credit, or you have a low household income and savings, ask us about how we can help.

      There are some grants available to cover the cost of making your home more energy-efficient. Our partners at the Centre for Sustainable Energy are experts on the Green Homes Grant, so why not contact them on 0800 082 2234 to discuss your options. Alternatively, you can email our Information and Advice team who can look into things on your behalf.

      Financial support is available for larger home improvements like insulating your home through our partners at Lendology CIC. You can find more information about their low-cost Home Improvement Loan Scheme by clicking here. Our Project Management team can support you through the entire process of updating your insulation, with your own personal Project Manager and our award-winning service.

      Why not give us a call or drop us an email. We can have an obligation-free chat about insulating your home and your financial situation. For more about how we’re staying Covid Safe and protecting you during the pandemic click here. Don’t stay in the cold! We’re here to help you stay warm, healthy and independent in your own home.






        Protecting yourself from having a fall at home

        Having a fall - older woman

        The impact of having a fall

        Having a fall can be a frightening and shocking experience. Whether the fall takes place indoors or outdoors, at home or away, it can make a person feel vulnerable. This is especially true for an older person and if this leads to a fear of falling, it can have a big impact on their quality of life.

        Depending on the circumstances of the fall and whether or not an injury was sustained some people can become less confident, less independent and more socially isolated.

        Fortunately a lot of falls are preventable and many things can be done to reduce the chances of having a fall. The biggest hurdle can be people realising that they are at risk in the first place.

        “Around 1 in 3 adults over 65 who live at home
        will have at least one fall a year,
        and about half of these will have more frequent falls.”

        NHS on Falls

        It is common for older people to ignore this because they are keen to maintain their independence. They see making some changes or accepting equipment offered by occupational therapists as giving in when really it is the opposite. It can help keep someone safe and independent in their own home.

        If the chance of someone having a fall can be reduced this can increase the chances of their continuing to live satisfying lives.

        Reasons for falling

        There are lots of reasons why people fall such as weak muscles, poor balance, dizziness, visual problems or medication. If you have any medical concerns about falling you should discuss this with your GP.

        Other reasons people fall can be due to hazards in the home. Our handyman service can help with jobs such as securing loose carpets that may cause you to trip, fitting an extra stair rail to give you extra support, installing grab rails in areas of the house you may feel vulnerable in, building concrete half steps to reduce the height of external steps, or even doing some jobs that you may feel could cause you to have a fall, such as changing light bulbs, putting up curtain poles or clearing the gutters.

         

        How We Care Home Improvements can help

        Our handyman service is set up to help with exactly this kind of home maintenance, and we have been helping people with their homes for over 30 years. You can completely trust our handymen and handywomen, who are all Trading Standards Approved.

         

        Get in touch

        Our customer service representatives can often provide a quote over the phone. If not, we will arrange for a Handyman or Handywoman to visit you and complete a quote that way.

         

        • Give us a call on 0300 323 0700 for a no-obligation chat with our team. We are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
        • Or, ask for a free quote and we will get in touch with you.

         

         

        How can you tell if your roof needs repairing?

        It can be difficult to know for sure that your roof needs repairing. Here is a quick guide to some of the telltale signs that your roof has some issues that need to be taken care of as soon as possible.

        It’s not always easy to spot issues with your roof, but it’s certainly very easy to put off repairs when you’re worried about the cost or hassle. However, you should familiarise yourself with these signs that your roof needs repairing. If you delay any repairs that need doing, you could be faced with much more expensive problems further down the line. Let’s go through some simple checks you can make yourself before you give us a call.

        First of all, check the inside of your roof

        The very first sign that your roof needs repair is water leaking into your home. If you spot a leak, dark streaks on the walls or damp and mould on the ceilings, go into your loft and check the roof. Water can leak into the property because of broken tiles or flashing.

        Whilst you’re up there, check for any light coming from outside. A secure roof should not let any light in at all. Light shining through indicates that there are holes or cracks in the roof itself. If you can see that the roof is sagging then call us straight away. A sagging roof is a very serious problem that could suggest structural issues with your home.

        roof repair
        More roof repair advice below!

        Next, have a look from outside

        Some issues may not present themselves from the inside. You should also try to spot what you can from outside – which is also easier said than done sometimes! Some things can be clearly visible to you from below, whereas others won’t be. Any information you can pass on to us on your initial call will be helpful though.

        You might be able to spot any loose, cracked or missing tiles easily. If you see any moss or mould this would suggest moisture damage on the roof. Sometimes on flat roofs, you will see water collected on the surface of the roof, which can lead to moss and mould and later a sagging roof. As the roof continues to rot from the water damage, a sag can lead to it fully collapsing. Don’t let it get to that stage!

        Check your gutters

        If your guttering is coming away from the exterior of your house, this could suggest that the roofing is starting to come loose. You might also find pieces of tile or shingle in the gutters – another telltale sign that the roof is rotting or starting to deteriorate.

        Get in the habit of checking your roof

        You should check your roof regularly, both inside and outside, for any of the signs mentioned above. If you see any of these early warning signs then it’s time to think about getting your roof repaired. The best thing to do is to act quickly and call us to discuss how we can help. One of our expert surveyors can visit your home for free to survey your roof and determine what repairs need to be undertaken.

        Concerned about the cost of major repairs?

        You may be able to receive some financial help to meet the cost of repairing your roof. We partner with the not-for-profit lender Lendology CIC. Lendology offers low-cost Home Improvement Loans to homeowners across the South West. If you can’t take out a loan or you aren’t eligible, we can look into other funding options on your behalf. Our Information and Advice team will be happy to discuss your circumstances with you and help in any way we can.






          Finding it difficult getting in and out of the bath?

          Woman getting out of the bath

          We see a lot of clients who find it difficult getting in and out of the bath. This could be because of a health condition or just being less mobile than you used to be. Throw water and wet surfaces into the mix and you can have quite a risky situation on your hands. If there is no one else home when you are bathing this can cause even more concern.

          Help with getting in and out of the bath safely

          Happily there are ways we can help you to increase your safety if you’re finding it difficult when getting in and out of the bath. Some examples might be:

          • A simple grab rail on the wall for you to hold onto for support and reassurance.
          • A bathboard that sits over the top of the bath (secured by adjustable brackets) which allows you to sit down whilst transferring your legs into the bath – some people also use this to sit down whilst showering.
          • A bath lift allows you to sit in the water – you transfer onto the seat and transfer your legs into the bath, then you use the electric hand controls to lower the seat into the water and bring you back up once you’re finished.

          The best solution for you will depend on your personal capabilities and your own bathroom layout. For example, a bath lift is not usually suitable for use in a corner bath. Or if you can’t lift your legs, a bathboard won’t help.

          You should give your circumstances some thought before choosing any equipment. Or alternatively give us a call and let us help.

          Bathroom design can make all the difference

          Some people decide to redesign their bathroom. The safest option is usually to remove the bath and install a level access shower. Some are reluctant to change their bathroom as they think it won’t look inviting, but there is a lot of choice available in fixture and fittings.

          Consider a level access shower

          The benefits of a level access shower include:

          • Reducing the risk of falls by not having to clamber over the side of the bath
          • You can walk straight into the shower – there is no step to lift your feet over, which again lowers the risk of having a fall
          • You can have a seat installed so you can sit while you shower yourself. If you experience tiredness, this may save you some vital energy
          • An increase in your independence. You might need a carer to help you have a bath but having a shower may allow you to wash without any help

           

          How We Care Home Improvements can help

          If you’re finding it difficult getting in and out of the bath and would like advice on choosing equipment for the bath, or to find how we can help with adapting your bathroom, you can:

          Give us a call on 0300 323 0700 for a no-obligation chat with our team. We are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

          Request a call back and we will get in touch with you.

          Visit our Bristol showroom to see some examples of our beautiful bathrooms and talk to our friendly and knowledgeable team.

           

           

          About We Care Home Improvements

          We’re a not-for-profit organisation on a mission to improve the homes of older people and those with disabilities. Our aim is for people to live comfortably and independently at home for as long as they choose. We specialise in accessible bathroomshome adaptationshandyperson servicesoccupational therapy and home independence products.

          We Care have been in the home maintenance business for over 30 years and our accessible bathrooms service is Trading Standards Approved. We are an approved supplier to Bristol, Bath & NE Somerset and Gloucestershire councils, so you can be sure that our work is of a very high standard.