Staying independent

Creating a safe home

"I want to know what changes I can make so I can continue to live in it safely."


Need a little help to stay independent?

Age UK has a range of products and services from trusted partners that can help you to continue doing things for yourself.

Our tips

Here’s a list of things you can do to make it easier when you are having a wash or using the toilet.

Before you wash

  • If you feel concerned about falling, you could make sure someone is in the house and on hand to help in an emergency. Otherwise give a friend or family member a call to let them know and ask them to raise the alarm if you do not call them back within a set period of time.
  • Make sure your shower head (if relevant) is at a height that is accessible without overreaching. If you live in a house with others, ask them to keep it at a set height that you can reach
  • Put a non-slip mat in the bath or shower on the area where you will be standing, and another one on the area where you will get out. Alternatively, use self-stick strips to secure the ones you have.
  • Check the temperature of the water before you step under the shower, or into the bath. Water should be at no more than 46 degrees Celsius. You could install a thermostatic mixing valve to get the right temperature, or run the cold water and gradually move it to hot while you test it.
  • Put everything you need, such as soap or shampoo, within easy reach.

Getting out of the bath or shower

  • Dry yourself while in the bath or shower to prevent getting water on the floor and making it slippery.
  • Wipe up any water spills to remove the risk of slipping on them.
  • Don’t keep the bath mat on the floor. Move it once you’re out of the bath.

Using the toilet

  • Do not hold onto the sink or radiator when using the toilet. These will eventually detach themselves. Also, the radiator could burn you.
  • If you use a walking frame, and your bathroom is small, you may be better to leave it outside than risk tripping over it. You can always have grab rails fitted to hold onto.

Equipment that may help

There are a lot of living aids that can help you while you are in the bathroom, such as a:

  • grab rail fitted in the bath or shower - this would help you get in and out safely
  • wall seat - this can help you if you are unable to stand while showering
  • bath lift - this would help you lower yourself into the bath, or lift yourself out
  • emergency cord fitted by your bath or shower - this would help if there was an emergency, you could put this to alert someone you need help
  • toilet booster seat - this can help you if your toilet is too low for you to sit on comfortably or makes it difficult for you to stand up after use by making the sitting position higher
  • grab rail fitted next to your toilet - this would help you lower yourself and stand up
  • commode - this could help you if you do not have a toilet on each level in your home and find the stairs difficult. Remember you’ll need to empty it though.

Find out more about aids, equipment and adaptations to make your life easier.