Modifications to accommodation

Some people with disability may need modifications to buildings or fittings to help them move around or live with greater independence.

Of people living in private dwellings:

  • 1 in 8 (12%) with disability, and 1 in 4 (25%) with severe or profound disability, have made modifications to their home because of their age or condition
  • 1 in 5 (20%) aged 65 and over with disability, and 2 in 5 (39%) aged 65 and over with severe or profound disability, have done so (Table 1).

Table 1: People with disability whose dwelling has been modified, disability status by age group (%), 2015

Age group

Severe or profound disability

Other disability status

All with disability

Under 65




65 and over








Source: ABS 2016; see also Table S1.

Hand grab rails are the most common modification made. Of those with disability who have modified their home:

  • more than two-thirds (69%) have installed hand grab rails
  • 45% have modified the toilet, bath or laundry
  • 20% have installed ramps (Figure 1).
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Whether a person with disability modifies their home, as well as they types of modifications they make, varies by age and severity of disability (Figure 1). For example:

  • older people (aged 65 and over) with disability, and those with severe or profound disability, are the most likely to have modified their home
  • while hand grab rails are the most common adjustment for all age groups, this modification was more common among older people
  • some modifications (such as structural changes, ramps, widened doors, and new or changed heating or air-conditioning) are more often made for younger people (aged under 65) than for older people (aged 65 and over).


ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016 Microdata: disability, ageing and carers, Australia, 2015. ABS cat. no. 4430.0.30.002. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of TableBuilder data.

Alternative text for Modifications to accommodation

Figure 1

Bar chart showing six types of home modifications for people with disability who are aged under 65 years, 65+ years and all ages. The reader can select to display the chart by disability status. The chart shows people with severe or profound disability aged under 65 years are less likely (11%) to require ramps for their homes than those with other disability (33%). Back to figure 1