Improving or adapting your home

As you get older so does your home. To protect your own health and comfort you need to maintain your home in a reasonable condition, with adequate heating and hot water systems and make adaptations to meet your changing physical needs.

National and local government give a high priority to ensuring that older people are warm, safe and secure in their homes. A range of grants and charitable schemes exist to help older people meet the cost of carrying out essential home improvements.

Help with home improvements

WE Care & Repair can help arrange any repair or adaptation to your home, either through a trusted contractor or one of their own Handypersons.  Ring for further information on 0300 323 0700, or email

Lendology.cic (formerly Wessex Home Improvement Loans): supply low cost loans to help you repair or adapt your home. You can also call Lendlology.cic on 01823 461 099 to discuss what funding is suitable for you and how to apply.

The Home Energy Team: provides free and impartial energy saving advice. They can advise you on saving money on your energy bills and keeping warm in winter. Call free on 0800 082 2234.

Home Security Assessment: Help with installing or replacing door and window locks. Contact WE Care & Repair 0300 323 0700.

Disabled Facilities Grant: To assist with the cost of installing a shower, a stair lift or other adaptation for a disabled person. Contact your local Bristol City Council Neighbourhood and Housing Office or  WE Care & Repair 0300 323 0700.

Personal and domestic help in your home

Home help and home care services

Bristol City Council Social Services offer a Home Care Service to older people who need help but the eligibility criteria have been tightened so you should request an assessment of your needs by contacting Care Direct, an information service for people over 60 or for adults with disabilities.

The staff can provide information about housing, pensions, social services and benefits and put you in touch with the right services.  Telephone 0117 922 2700. 

The Homeshare Scheme

The Homeshare scheme has been operating in parts of Great Britain, particularly London, since 1993. The Council are funding WE Care & Repair to provide the Homeshare Bristol scheme.

Homeshare is a charity, which very carefully matches older people living in their own homes with a younger person over the age of 25, who enjoys spending time with and helping older people. 

The younger sharer is carefully chosen and their references checked before being introduced to the older homeowner.  If both parties wish to go ahead, the homeowner will receive ten hours of help per week with everyday tasks in return for the accommodation provided.

For further information contact Homeshare West on tel: 0117 908 3045

24 hour community alarm systems

If you live alone and would like the security of an emergency alarm system, there are a number of charities and organisations which can provide this service.

Emergency alarms are linked through your telephone line to a central service which is staffed 24 hours a day.  If you're on a low income and assessed as needing the service, it can be provided free by Adult Community Care or a local Bristol charity called the Dolphin Society.

The Bristol City Council Home Support community alarm service is available to non-council tenants.  Several commercial companies such as Tunstall Telecom, BT and others offer a similar service. 

Ways of improving your financial situation

You may be aware that you have a substantial amount of money tied up in your biggest asset your home.

There are several ways in which you may be able to improve your income or get a lump sum because you are a homeowner even though a standard loan or mortgage may not be available to you.

Welfare benefits and money advice

The Government encourages older people to take up the welfare benefits which are available to make sure that citizens in their retirement are guaranteed a minimum income and help if they become ill or disabled. Once you are in receipt of one benefit you may become eligible for other benefits or special schemes.

See our benefits and money advice page for more information.

Home income and equity release schemes

These schemes are designed to enable elderly homeowners to get extra capital and income from their homes whilst continuing to live there and without involving their other assets.

These schemes are complex to understand and set up.  In the past some schemes were badly set up and left plan holders in debt so take time and care to investigate the different schemes available before making a decision.

An organisation called The Equity Release Council to promote the safe home income and equity release plans and to protect existing and potential plan holders.

The Equity Release Council represents all participants in the equity release market, setting standards and safeguards which protect and reassure consumers. You are therefore recommended to deal only with the member companies. 

SSAFA Forces Help Welfare Services and The Royal British Legion

SSAFA (The Soldiers, sailors, Airmen and Families Association) and The Royal British Legion can provide financial assistance, housing advice, friendship visits and practical support to anyone who has completed a minimum length of service in any of our Armed Forces and is in need.  This includes the Reserves, those who did National Service and their partners, dependants and widows or widowers of anyone who has served.

A team of trained caseworkers provide welfare support by assessing the problem and then helping to find a solution. If you need financial help the caseworker will ensure you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to and exploring non-statutory sources of funding from appropriate charitable organisations.


  • SSAFA in the Avon and Severnside area
    Phone: 01454 260 815
  • The Royal British Legion County Field Office, Suite E, Crypton House, Bristol Rd, Bridgwater, Somerset
    Phone: 01278 446711