There is a lot of equipment that can help you carry out daily living tasks; everything from helping you to get out of bed to getting into the bath.
At some time in our lives, perhaps because of disability or just getting older, many of us find it more difficult to carry out everyday tasks. This might be getting out of your chair or feeling a bit wobbly when you have, or struggling to climb into the bath. Sometimes, just getting the lid off a jar or lifting a heavy kettle can be difficult. Not being able to clearly see buttons on controls or read instructions brings its own difficulties.
Many people don't ask for help because they feel this is giving up independence. In fact, 'assistive technology' can mean that you do not have to rely on others and can stay independent for longer.
There are literally hundreds of aids that can help you carry on living independently. Everything from helping you with eating, dressing and bathing to getting around your home. For example:
- getting in and out of the bath safely can be a real problem. Equipment to help includes grab rails and seats to lower you into the bath. Once in the bath, non-slip mats and stools keep you safe and comfortable. The Disabled Living Foundation provide good advice on choosing the right equipment for bathing (opens in a new window), showering (opens in a new window) and choosing and fitting grab rails (opens in a new window).
- there are many different designs of walkers to help you get around with confidence. There are three and four wheeled versions that can be used indoors or out. Some of these have a seat to let you rest, or a bag for your shopping. The Disabled Living Foundation provide good advice on choosing the right walking equipment (opens in a new window).
- getting in and out of bed can be made easier with a simple rail that clamps to the bed. Sometimes, raising the bed a few inches is all that is needed and there are adjustable blocks to do this. Adjustable backrests and tables can make it easier and more comfortable to eat or read in bed
- there is also a wide range of simple electronic aids that can help with all aspects of daily living, from reminding you to take medication, finding your keys or bag, remotely controlling electrical appliances, or just using the phone.
This is only a summary of what is available. Whatever you have difficulty with, there is almost certainly a solution for you.
One form of assistive technology is Telecare which helps people live safely and independently at home. It continually monitors the home environment and raises an alert if something is wrong.
Some people who use equipment around the home also find home adaptations helpful.
There are a number of organisations who provide equipment and advice. Some of these are listed in our service provider directory and you can arrange equipment directly for yourself.
If you are not sure what equipment will help, you could visit one of our Independent Living Centres. This is a great way to see and try out equipment without any pressure. Some items of equipment can even be borrowed for free, to try at home. Alternatively, one of our Occupational Therapists can visit you at home to talk about what you might need.
If you have a sight or hearing impairment, we also have Sight and Hearing Centres. Like Independent Living Centres, these offer an opportunity to see and try out specialist equipment and get advice. Alternatively, a member of one of our Sight and Hearing Teams can visit you at home.
If you are having problems with moving around the house or outdoors, you should ask your GP to arrange for you to see a physiotherapist.
Mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs are available from the NHS (opens in a new window), you can talk to your GP for more details.
Mobility scooters are only available for private purchase and providers may be found in our service provider directory.
If you need help to express your views and wishes Advocacy may help you.
You can find information about equipment that can help with daily living from one of the many equipment suppliers in Dorset. However, you can get advice from the Disability Living Foundation (opens in a new window) (DLF) who are a national charity that provides impartial advice, information and training on daily living aids. The DLF offers two ways to get advice:
If you have been supplied equipment by the NHS or the council such as commodes, raised toilet seats, rise and recliner chairs, walking frames, perching stools and other similar items and want to return them, contact NRS Healthcare (opens in a new window) on 0344 893 6364. NRS will arrange collection of the equipment.
If you have Telecare equipment provided by the council please contact the Telecare provider:
Equipment installed under a Disability Facilities Grant such as a stairlift can be returned to the council to be reissued if it is under three years old. Please contact 0370 011 8282.
Privately purchased equipment or equipment more than three years old is the home owners responsibility but you can get advice from Handicare (opens in a new window). Any cost of removal will be payable by the home owner and we advise that you should get quotes from at least three companies.
Equipment to help you in the home can cost anything from just a few pounds for simple devices or gadgets, to several hundred pounds for more complex aids.
In many cases, quite simple and inexpensive pieces of equipment may be all you need. Our centres, or one of the mobility shops across Dorset can advise (see the 'how to get help' tab).
If you are eligible for our help, we may be able to provide you with some basic equipment free of charge.
We may also be able to provide larger and more complex items of equipment. For example: electric beds and hoists, pressure relief equipment and nursing equipment. If you are eligible for our help, we may provide this equipment free of charge and pay the rental charge.