Funding your Home Modifications to help you Age in Place
Ireland’s senior population is growing – and perhaps unsurprisingly. So is the number of people who are choosing to spend their later years at home, looking into modifying their homes so they can age in a familiar environment rather than opting for nursing home care.
The big question being asked by this growing population, however, is – how does one afford the tremendous home modifications which are needed for someone to age in place?
Make no mistake that home modifications for seniors come with one hefty price tag, as you’re looking at between €18,000 and €20,000 to fully modify a standard home into one that fully accommodates safe, comfortable ageing in place.
But it’s not as terrifying as it seems. The financial help, grants and plans available to Irish seniors are up there with the best in the world. What this really means is, if you live in Ireland, you will probably find that you can get a large part of your home modifications funded in one way or another. Wouldn’t that be a load off your mind?
Home modifications on a budget
Here at Ageing in Place Ireland, we’ve done the research and found that you are unlikely to have to cover anything like the full cost of the adaptations made to your home. Even those with savings are likely to gasp when they see the cost of adding in a curved stairlift, or an in-house elevator. But high-end home modifications are well within grasp – you just have to know what you’re entitled to!
Mobility Aids Grants Scheme
The Mobility Aids Grant Scheme is primarily for seniors but is available to anyone who needs help with mobility. If you need home modifications that aid movement around the home, such as access ramps, shower adaptations or even stairlifts, you may be able to get them paid for through this scheme. This grant may not cover full home adaptations but should cover the cost of the basics for mobility.
Maximum amount: €6000
Can be used for: Any home modification that justifiably improves mobility around the home.
Read more about the Mobility Aids Grants Scheme here >>
Housing Aid for Older People Scheme
Each local authority is different with what they offer, but essentially, this is available if you are 66 or over and in need of housing repairs in order to continue living there. While this isn’t strictly for the funding of ageing in place home modifications, this is still an ideal way to get help if you can show you are living in poor or unsuitable living conditions.
Bear in mind that your income – including money from benefits – may affect your eligibility here, but if you are deemed suitable for this grant, you could gain access to a few thousand Euros, which should cover your main costs.
Maximum amount: €8,000
Can be used for:
- Roof replacements or repairs
- Central heating
- Upgrading the electrical wiring
- windows and doors
Read more about the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme here >>
Local Authority Home Improvement Loans
The highest amount available – which could come to around €38,000 – comes from a loan secured by mortgaging a house. If you are unable to get a loan through a bank or building society, and you are not eligible for any disability or mobility grants, then this may be the best avenue to take. However, it’s worth remembering that this is a loan, not a grant, and you are essentially going into debt (variable interest rates can apply!). If possible, you are advised to exhaust your grant options before exploring the idea of borrowing.
Maximum amount: €38,000 (€50,000 on offshore islands)
Can be used for: Any house improvements or repairs, so long as you are deemed eligible.
Read more about Local Authority Home Improvement Loans here >>
Funding home modifications for those with a disability
Approximately 20% of people in Ireland aged 60 and above have a disability – a number that shoots up to 27.7% for those aged between 70 and 74. If you are registered as having a disability, there are specific routes you can take to fund your home adaptations. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the funding available for the many Irish seniors registered with a disability.
Housing Adaptation Grants for older people and people with a disability
Some schemes administered by local authorities focus wholly on those with a registered disability.
For the Housing Adaptation Grant, you have to show that you are registered as disabled and in need of housing-related works to continue living at home. In Ireland, this grant should cover the costs plus any specific modifications needed for someone who has decided to age at home.
Maximum amount: €30,000
Can be used for: Any necessary adaptations, repairs or improvement works to your home that enable a person to live there more comfortably.
Read more about the Housing Adaptation Grant here >>
Not many people realise that you can, in fact, get a refund on VAT paid on some appliances and special items that assist you with necessary home improvements. This is aimed at those with a registered disability who have had to modify their homes in one way or another. Although there are no specifics on amounts you can claim, it is made clear that this refund can cover expenses such as the installation of home modifications – this means that a reasonable amount can be claimed back.
Find about more about VAT refunds for those with a disability here >>
Additional funding for those with a disability
Holders of long-term illness cards or medical cards in Ireland could gain access to free equipment, so long as they pass an assessment by a professional.
You may also be eligible for the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme or the Better Energy Homes Scheme.
Check out this full grants checklist to see what could be available to you in Ireland. We also have a specific page dedicated to grants for the elderly, and information about private funding.
If you would like to ask any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch >>