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 stay safe while in your bedroom.

Wardrobes and drawers

  • Think about reorganising your wardrobes and drawers so the clothes you wear most often are in the easiest places for you to access.
  • If you have a summer and winter wardrobe, ask someone to move your clothes around so you don’t have to rummage at the back of the wardrobe for the things you need.
  • Use your top bedside drawer to store the things you use on a daily or regular basis, such as your glasses, reading book or medication.

Electrical sockets and leads

  • If you do not have a bedside light, consider having a light switch for the main light installed by your bed.
  • Make sure you keep the lamp cord and any other leads tidy. Secure them back out the way with Velcro ties.
  • If you find it difficult to reach electrical sockets, consider having them repositioned higher.

Your bed

  • Make sure your bed is at a height that is easy for you to get in and out of - not too high or too low.
  • Use bed sheets and covers that are warm but lightweight so making the bed is easier.
  • Make sure blankets do not trail on the floor. Tuck them out of the way when you first get into bed.
  • If you use a walking aid, put it at your bedside so it is easy to reach when you want to get up. Also think about other things you need within easy reach, like your glasses.
  • If you do not have a bedside light, keep a torch nearby so you can use it to get your bearings in the middle of the night. Remember to have some spare batteries in easy reach too.
  • Keep your Lifeline alarm pendant (if you wear one) on when you go to bed so you can find it easily in an emergency.
  • If your bed is a considerable distance from a toilet consider a commode by your bed.

Electric blankets


  • buy a new blanket. Second-hand blankets may not be safe
  • follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use
  • have your blanket checked by an expert at least every 3 years (or as recommended by the manufacturer) to make sure it is still safe to use. You can ask the shop where you bought it about testing and servicing, or contact the trading standards department at your local council – they often have free testing days.
  • check the care label before you wash the blanket. Most blankets are not designed to be washed.

Before you use your electrical blanket, check for the following items and do not use it if there are any issues:

  • creases or scorch marks
  • an exposed element
  • damp or wet areas
  • signs of wear or damage on the plug and cord.

While you are using the blanket make sure:

  • it is not plugged into an adaptor or multi-socket block with another appliance plugged in
  • that you keep the blanket spread out flat - never use it folded
  • you do not use a hot water bottle at the same time as using the electric blanket
  • that the wires are not trailing on the floor causing a trip hazard.

When you have finished using the blanket make sure you:

  • turn the power off at the wall
  • unplug the blanket
  • store the blanket carefully, and refer to the manufacturer's instructions for storage.

Equipment that may help

There are a lot of living aids that you can use in your bedroom, including:

  • a long-handled appliance, such as an ‘easy reach’ - this can help you to turn low or high switches on
  • bed rails - these would be attached to each side of your bed for you to hold onto when you get in and out
  • a rope ladder - this can help you to pull yourself upright while you are in bed
  • a bed raiser - this increases the height of a bed so it is easier to stand up when getting out of it
  • a hoist - this is placed under your body and lifts you into and out of your bed.

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