16 – Home Environment Adaptation
Fact sheet no. 16
Aside from obtaining aids, adapting your home can involve structural reconfigurations such as removal of thresholds, making the bathroom and kitchen handicap friendly, or elevating the balcony. Even small changes can make life much easier in your own home, help avoid accidents, or adapt the home to your abilities.
A tour of your home
The bathroom in particular requires major adaption. If you look at your bathroom, for instance:
- Are grab handles installed in the bathtub and shower?
- Does the toilet have a comfortable seat height?
- Can you easily get into the bathtub?
- Do you have to move over thresholds to get to the bathroom or other rooms?
- Should the bathtub be replaced by a shower? Is the door way to the toilet and the bathroom wide enough?
You should look at every room in your home with as much scrutiny as you look at the bathroom in order to decide whether your home is functionally suitable for your needs.
In home environment adaptation, there is no single solution that fits all and it should be evaluated in advance in your home, together with you, which individual measures are necessary and make sense for you.
Your insurance provider may subsidize home environment adaptation if, “in individual cases,home care will be enabled or significantly relieved, or highly independent living of the care recipient can be re-established“ (§ 40 paragraph. 4 Sozialgesetzbuch XI).
Prerequisite for receiving benefits is the allocation of a care level. The amount of benefit does not depend on the level of income. The maximum subsidy is 4,000 Euro per claim. If several care recipients share one home, each one is entitled to a subsidy of up to 4,000 Euro. The total subsidy per home is limited to 16,000 Euro and is distributed among the insurance providers when there are more than four claimants in one home.
The respective nursing care fund or health insurance provider usually assumes the cost of aids or nursing care products. You should collect information ahead of time about the conditions and means for filing an application since there are different rules, especially for benefits for nursing aids among the care insurance providers.
If you would like to apply for a subsidy for home environment adaptation, be aware that all insurance payers require that every measure must be applied for and approved in advance, e.g. before the bathroom adaption starts or the threshold is removed.
For building work that involves structural parts of the building, approval from the landlord must be obtained in advance. It is important that the landlord releases you from the provision to restore the home back to its original state, so that when you move out you are not required, for example, to put the old bathtub back in.
In addition to the nursing care fund, under certain circumstances, home environment adaptation can also be financed in whole or in part by other cost-bearers, e.g. through social welfare services, pension office, professional rehabilitation, foundations, landlords.
Financial support of remodelling measures by funding programs
The Investitionsbank Berlin has, among other things, funding programs to promote the age- appropriate conversion or modernization of housing. You can find information about this on the Internet at www.ibb.de or www.kfw.de.