What's in a name? - Paul's blog

What does the term “adaptation” mean to you? As you’re reading this then you’re probably thinking about stairlifts, level access showers and ramps. Or maybe grabrails, half steps and toilet frames? Or do they count as “minor adaptations” or “equipment”?

What about something with batteries or a plug? “Assistive technology”, “telecare”, “technology enabled care”? I’m not sure any more. It’s all more to do with defining funding streams rather than drawing real world distinctions. If you need any of this stuff then I don’t think those definitions really matter.

Now the funding streams are converging within the Better Care Fund, it’s worth reconsidering these arbitrary terms for the changes that can be made to someone’s living environment.

As an umbrella term we could use “adaptations” - but does that come with negative connotations? You “adapt” to overcome a deficit, to make the best of a bad situation.

Most of the rest of the world use the term “Home Modification” or “Home Mod”. To me, that’s more about customising your environment to suit what you need, want and desire; not just to survive, but maybe with a few added bells and whistles.

Google images of “car mod” and you get something like this:


Maybe not the most accessible of vehicles, but reflects the personality of its owner rather than just being functional.

It could just be semantics, but I think approaching each assessment with the aspiration of providing a wide range of personalised modifications that will really enhance a person’s wellbeing and maybe reflect some of their character and aspirations beyond merely surviving.

Talking of home mods with a plug, earlier this month I went to see a company who have all sorts of affordable gadgets to monitor and automate your home. They have your usual remote switches and movement sensors, but then other controls that can change the temperature room by room, detect floods, switch on/off water feeds, etc. etc. Well worth checking out at lightwaverf.com if you’re looking to expand your handyperson service, or provide mods for dementia or challenging behaviours.

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