If you are starting to struggle living at home with your condition or disability, make life easier and safer. You can:

  • get help quickly with technology
  • keep your home clean and tidy
  • eat well living at home
  • meet and talk to people more
  • make changes to live at home
  • live at home after hospital

Get help quickly with technology


You want to live at home, but you worry if you will be safe alone. Get peace of mind you can get help easily with a personal alarm or a GPS tracker.

Call for help with a personal alarm

Rest easy that you can get help if you ever fall or feel unwell. Rent a personal alarm to let a call centre or a carer know you need help quickly.

They are a few pounds a week. Some alarms are light enough to take out the house and can look like watches or necklaces.

Others have sensors that pick up falls and any problems in the home like smoke or intruders. They do this without you wearing or doing anything.

Find out more about alarms and sensors by:

Let loved ones know you are O.K when out

You can get out and about on your own and let a loved one know you are safe.

Show loved ones where you are with a tracker. They are light and can look like a watch or key ring. Trackers are helpful if you ever feel unwell or get lost and cost from £60 and a small fee a month.

Learn more about trackers by:

Keep your home clean and tidy

Keeping your home clean and tidy helps keep you safe and healthy. There are things you can do to make it easier for you.

Make tidying and cleaning easier

You can make tidying and cleaning the house yourself easier. 

There are companies that sell items that let you clean with less bending. Others sell technology that does some of the cleaning for you.

Make cleaning easier by:

Get help with cleaning your home

You may find it hard to clean and tidy, even if you can do other jobs O.K. If you cannot get help from people you know, get a cleaner and make living at home easier. 

You can meet them first and ask them to come every week or two if you are happy. Some also do other jobs like shopping or taking you to appointments.

You can:

Clear clutter from your home

If you live with clutter, this can make cleaning harder and even lead to accidents. It can feel difficult to know where to start.

You can get help with clutter by:

Get help with your garden

You can make sure you keep your garden looking tidy. Find someone who can help.

See a local organisation that can help with garden upkeep (local website Help & Kindness).

Ask Age UK about its service to prune and weed and provide other help.

Eat well living at home

Eating enough of different types of food helps you to stay well.

Ask people you know if you need help getting food. You can also: 

Get a lift to do a food shop and get help in store

Make getting to the shops easier. If you are not able to get a lift from someone you know, you have options.

You can get a bus, a lift from volunteers or book a community transport bus from your door to the shops. 

And at the supermarket, some stores help you get your items and pack.

Get to the shops by:

And get help when you get to the shop by:

Get your food shopping brought to you

Get online and order your shopping. Some local shops do this too. Or, if you do not use the internet, you can phone some shops to order food.

Get online and order your shopping by:

And if you are ill or need to isolate one week, get a volunteer to shop for you.
Find a volunteer for one-off help with shopping in an emergency on community website Help & Kindness.
Call Age UK on 01305 269 444

Cook more easily with equipment to help you

Make cooking easier with equipment and aids to help you. Sit while you cook and chop vegetables quickly. Move meals and hold knives and forks more easily.

Cook and eat more easily with:

Look at things to help you cook at centres to help people live independently in Dorchester or Wimborne. Book to go on 033 300 300 10 or milifegreenwood@millbrookhealthcare.co.uk.

Or find out in our video about cutlery that is:
helps with tremors
makes cutting easier

Learn in our video about cups:
for poor grip 
for stiff necks 
for tremors

Get meals delivered to you

Get a good meal with less work. Ready meals are a way to eat a balanced diet. Some local companies will bring you a meal for you to heat up. Some will bring the meal ready to eat.

Find where you can order:

Have a good lunch and meet people

Share a hot meal every week or month for a few pounds. Lunch clubs are a way for older people to eat well and meet people.

If you cannot get a lift from someone you know, you can take a community transport bus from your door. Or some lunch clubs come and get you.

Choose a lunch club near you, in different parts of Dorset:

If you have a severe disability, check if you or someone who can drive you to a lunch club might qualify for a Blue Badge.

Check your bus journey to go for a meal at a lunch club. Or find a community transport scheme to take you

Get help if you do not have enough food

You do not have to go without food. Get an emergency food parcel or food donation.

You need to first tell Citizens Advice you are in crisis. You will then get a food bank voucher that gives you food to meet your needs for 3 days.

Contact Citizens Advice. Call on 0800 144 8848 or email a local office.
Find a food bank near you:

Help yourself to food that is there to be shared in a community fridge. See a list of community fridges for you to use – no need to apply or get a voucher.

Get cheaper, good, nutritious food by joining a community food shop run by volunteers. Find your nearest community food shop.

Meet and talk to people more

You want to live at home but are worried you will feel bored and lonely. You have ways to stay in touch with loved ones and talk to more people.

Hear from loved ones easily

Speak to loved ones more easily and often – even if you do not like computers or mobiles.

Find out about making simpler phone or video calls by:

Talk to and see more people

If you are feeling lonely, there are things you can do – some without leaving home.

You can meet new people like you in groups online. You can have conversations with people who are there to help people feeling lonely.

You can:

Get out more and meet more people

If you find it harder to get out to meet people, get help to get about yourself safely.

Get help from the NHS and mobility shops, or get a lift from people you know, volunteers, a community bus or social group. 

To get out, you can:

Make changes to live at home

If it is becoming harder to get around and do things at home, make life easier. Changes to your home, big or small, can make you safer and more independent. Find out how.

Make having a wash easier with simple changes

You might find it tiring standing in the shower or could be worried that will slip. If so, make having a wash easier.

You could sit with a shower seat and hand-held shower head. And keep steady with an anti-slip mat and grab rails – though be careful with suction ones.

Make having a wash easier by:

Make getting around at home easier with handrails and other changes

If getting up and downstairs is difficult, steady yourself with handrails on both sides of the stairs. Ask us to put in standard ones or choose and buy some yourself.

You can also get advice like where to best put them first. Join a waiting list for our advice, or pay for independent advice.

Also, make sure it is easy to move around and remove trip hazards.

You can:

Get in and out of chairs and bed more easily

If you have difficulty getting in and out of chairs or your bed, you can change this.

You can make armchairs and sofas higher and easier to get up from with 'raisers'. Bed raisers can be fitted to many types of beds to increase the height and help you get in and out.

You can also think about whether other bed aids and chairs that can rise and recline could help you.

Find out more about making it easier to use furniture by:

Make going upstairs simple with a stairlift

If using stairs is difficult even with an extra handrail, you might need a stairlift or house lift.

Get expert advice on stairlifts from our council service Dorset Accessible Homes. They will help you to apply for the financial help you might qualify for.

If you do not qualify, you can put one in yourself. Or ask the service to, for a fee.

If your situation is complex, ask our occupational therapists to look at your home and how you get around. There is a wait for this. We can also help you apply for financial help.

Find out more about getting a stairlift by:

Make having a wash easier with a walk-in shower/wet room

You might have grab rails or a bathing aid but still be finding it hard to get in and out of the bath. If so, make washing easier in a wet room. 

Get expert advice on wet rooms from our council service Dorset Accessible Homes. They will help you to apply for the financial help you might qualify for.

They can advise you even if you do not qualify and can oversee work for you for a fee. 

If you find it difficult using the bath or shower:

  • ask Dorset Accessible Homes how they can help you get a wet room on 0333 00 300 10
  • get free advice on wet rooms from independent living charity DLF on 0300 999 0004 
  • buy one from a local supplier (there are many options to consider, including Bathroom Inspirations, Impey, J&Bs) and find a local firm to put the wet room in 
  • ask for an appointment with a Dorset Council specialist to look at your needs in your home on 01305 221 016 or adultaccess@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
  • or, if you want the choice and can fund changes yourself, see a private occupational therapist for advice:

Getting bigger changes to stay in your home

If a disability or old age means doing things at home is hard, you might need bigger changes. Doors can be widened, worktops and switches lowered, and ramps put in for you.

Get expert advice on making major changes from our council service Dorset Accessible Homes. They will help you to apply for the financial help you might qualify for.

Also, think about moving to a home that already meets your needs.

You can:

Live at home after hospital

A doctor decides if you are well enough to go home from hospital. When it is time to leave, hospital staff will talk with you about your first few weeks of aftercare.

Find out how you can get extra help and live at home.

Find out if you need aftercare at home

The hospital staff can talk to you about your aftercare needs before you leave hospital.

This is what could happen:

  1. They will talk to you about what care you might get in the first few weeks. This could be from friends and family, the community and health and social care workers.
  2. You will also talk about how you get home, your medicine, and ways to get help with every-day tasks.
  3. The health and social care team works out if you need aftercare in your first few weeks home. They tell you in hospital and will be in touch once you are home.

See the leaflet the hospital should give you before you leave.
Or learn more in a longer guide to leaving hospital by Age UK.

Get help when you get back home

It is good to have someone to help you when you get home, if you need. You might know somebody who can. Or get someone to visit for free to check you’ve got everything you need.

Ask charity Dorset First Point to help when you get home by phoning 0330 123 2550. They can make sure you’ve got milk and bread, have topped up utilities and have told your GP.

If you are in the Royal Bournemouth or Poole District Hospital, ask the British Red Cross to help you when you get back home. Phone them on 01235 552 665.

Ask Dorset Council for help moving your bins until you get better.

Get extra help at home and with errands

While you get better, you might need help at home or with errands. You might know somebody who can do this. There are also people and organisations who can do this for a charge.

Find out about Age UK’s home support to help you with things like cleaning and shopping, for £17 an hour.

See who can do household chores for a fee (Help & Kindness).

Find out what aftercare you need to get better

You will get aftercare at home if the health and social care team works out that this will help you recover.

They will look to see if you need help doing daily tasks that you did not need before hospital.

You will probably only need a few days of free aftercare but sometimes it lasts up to 4 weeks. This could include support from:

  • a volunteer
  • reablement support workers
  • a nurse
  • a carer
  • a social worker
  • an occupational therapist
  • physiotherapist
  • a speech therapist

Get better and learn to do daily tasks yourself

If the team sees that aftercare will be helpful, you will get support to learn day-to-day tasks again.

This aftercare could help you to use the bathroom, to dress and to make meals. This often takes a few days. As you get better, your support team will check how much care you need.

In most cases, you can do everything you could before you went into hospital in less than 4 weeks.

Meet your care needs after you get better

After your recovery in the first month, you can pay for care at home to get extra help.

Get care from someone you know

Someone in your family, or a neighbour or friend, might want to do some daily tasks for you. They can help any carer you qualify for or pay for.

They can get help to do this unpaid care from a local charity. Phone Carer Support Dorset on 0800 368 8349 or email admin@carersupportdorset.co.uk.

They can also ask Dorset Council to check what could help them care. Dorset will do a carers assessment to find out.

Tell Dorset Council about your needs as an unpaid carer.

Look for home care yourself

Get help finding and choosing care at home.

See a list of companies and freelance people who offer care in the home (Help & Kindness).
Check what rating care companies have from the Government body that looks at how good care services are, the Care Quality Commission.
Find a Dorset independent small business carer. These community care micro-providers commit to be reliable, safe and good at meeting care needs.

Ask us to look at your care needs

If you need help looking after yourself, you can ask us to look at your care needs. We will look at what daily tasks you can and cannot do.

You will need to wait for an appointment. This could be by phone. If care is not free for you, you can find care yourself without an assessment.

You will only get financial help if:

  • you have less than £23,250
  • you have needs that mean you qualify for care

Find out if you might qualify for care (Which?)
Ask us for a care needs assessment in Dorset. Phone the Adult Access Team on 01305 221 016 or email adultaccess@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

You can also find out about benefits you might qualify for (Gov.uk).

Take control of money for care you qualify for

You can talk to the care manager looking at your needs about ways to get that care.

If you qualify for care, ask about managing your care budget. This gives you a direct payment so you can choose your care yourself.

Find out how getting a personal budget can help you find care (Gov.uk).

Meet your healthcare needs after your recovery

Find out if you qualify for NHS continuing healthcare

After your recovery in the first month, you can get health care through your GP.

But if your needs cannot be met by normal health services alone, you may qualify for NHS continuing healthcare.

A nurse or other professional can check and tell you if you might qualify. If so, a full assessment of your needs will be done.

Find out more about getting a full NHS assessment of your healthcare needs after your recovery.

Managing your condition yourself, with help, after your recovery

If you have a long-term condition, there are ways you can manage better day-to-day. You can:

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