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).

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.