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Making bathing easier - who can help?

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is the UK’s leading expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. We have over 50 years’ experience of independent, specialist research.

Here are some sources of advice on finding the equipment that's best for you, and where you might get funding to make the necessary changes.

Bathing - information and advice

Social services

You may be eligible for a free assessment with social services - they'll see that you get any aids or minor adaptations you need. You may have to pay towards the cost of equipment or information. This varies from authority to authority, and might depend on what you can afford.

The assessment is usually carried out by an occupational therapist (an OT). Their advice is worth having even if you can afford to buy the equipment privately. There may be a long waiting list.

Occupational therapists

You can get free advice from an occupational therapist (OT) at a Disabled Living Centre or a home-improvement agency. Some OTs are based in hospitals, or you can ask for a referral from your GP or social services. If you can pay, a private OT can also assess you.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has a list of private OTs.

Disabled Living Centres

Disabled Living Centres (DLCs) are local, independent centres that have equipment to look at and try out. It's best to make an appointment with an OT or specialist - they can tell you what to look for and where to find equipment.

Google 'Disabled Living Centres' to find your nearest DLC.

Online advice

For even more information than we include in this guide, visit the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) website, Living Made Easy. The website's Bathing section has up-to-date reviews of specific products for bathing, showering and personal care. 


You can look at aids and equipment at trade exhibitions such as Naidex.

Grants, loans and practical help

These are some sources of funding - most are intended to be used for adaptations to your home. The local authority grants described here are for England and Wales. Contact your local authority for more information or for equivalents in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Disabled Facilities Grant

This grant is for major work to help a disabled person live more independently. You can get the grant if you're a homeowner or a tenant, and your local authority decides that the work is necessary and reasonable. The amount you can get depends on your income and savings, and goes up to £30,000 in England and £36,000 in Wales.

The limit's £25,000 in Northern Ireland. In Scotland there are no Disabled Facilities Grants but you can get support for equipment and adaptations.

For more information, see the government web pages about Disabled Facilities Grants.

Home-repair assistance

If you need financial help to carry out home repairs, you may be able to get up to £5,000 over three years. Contact your local authority's housing department for details of what's available in your area. You may be eligible if you receive pension credits or certain disability benefits.

Local schemes

Local 'Care and Repair' and home-improvement agency schemes help disabled and older people make their homes easier to live in. They have information about grants and may help you make an application or even help see the work through. They know about practical help available locally, such as Handyperson services that can carry out small DIY jobs for you.

To find the nearest, contact:

In England

Bleaklow House
Howard Town Mill
SK13 8HT

United Kingdom


0845 864 5210

In Wales

Care & Repair Cymru
Care & Repair Cymru
2 Ocean Way
CF24 5TG

United Kingdom


029 2067 4830


029 2067 4801

In Scotland

Care & Repair Scotland
Care & Repair Scotland
135 Buchanan Street
Suite 2.5
G1 2JA

United Kingdom


0141 221 9879


0141 221 9885

In Northern Ireland

Fold Group (Northern Ireland)
Fold Group (Northern Ireland)
3-7 Reburn Square
BT18 9HZ

United Kingdom


028 9042 8314


028 9042 8167

Interest-only loans

If you own your own home and need to borrow money for structural changes, talk to your bank or building society. Some give interest-only loans to older people, against the value of the property. You pay interest, but the amount borrowed doesn't have to be repaid until the house is sold.

Charitable grants

Libraries have directories of fund-giving organisations. The DLF has free factsheets on sources of finance for disabled people - you can download them from their Suppliers and sources of funding page.

You may need an assessment to support any application for money.

Know your consumer rights

Check to see if you know your rights when buying goods and services online or when visiting shops. Go to consumer rights

This information from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is unbiased and we hope it will help you choose the right option to meet your needs. We don't sell products. Please search online by product name to find suppliers or go to our Useful contacts section in the menu above.

Last updated: August 2018

Difficulty getting in and out of the bath | Who can help?