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Assistive Devices for Everday Life


Many people rely on assistive devices each day in order to remain independent in the community. Some older persons, persons with disabilities, and persons recovering from injuries or medical procedures require the use of devices to make-up for what they can not do on their own. The devices can be used to help someone perform a specific task and can often be used to compensate for loss of hearing, sight, mobility, or cognitive abilities.

Technology advancement in assistive devices offers people more options in performing daily tasks. For example, medication dispensers can be programmed to release medications at a certain and use an alarm to remind people to take their medicine. Caregivers can be notified if the meds are not taken. For someone living alone or with a caregiver who works, the medication dispensing machine could eliminate any med problems.

Assistive devices are available for the bathroom, like raised toilet seats, grab bars, bath benches, and hand-held showerheads. Assistive devices for mobility, cooking, driving, typing, eating, and driving are readily available. Medicare and other insurance plans will often pay for all or at least part of an assistive device as long as there is a doctor’s order. Most devices can be obtained from home health equipment businesses, pharmacies, and online. Be careful to purchase devices from reputable companies and not give out personal information that is not needed for the purchase. There are scams that charge Medicare for devices unbeknownst to the consumer, leaving the consumer without a quality item and filed as having received this item. Our office has the Senior Medicare Patrol that can help with any insurance-related scams. Just call our office for assistance.

Assistive devices not covered by insurance can be costly. Checking with home health agencies, Shawnee Alliance, the Center for Independent Living, and other social service agencies may prove beneficial as these businesses often receive donated items after someone has passed away. If you would like to borrow an item or try it out first, the Illinois Assistive Technology Program has many types of devices available for loan free of charge and provides the chance to purchase at a reasonable rate later on. You can call 217-522-7985 for more information.

Some people have been able to make their own device to save money and offer a simple remedy to their issue. Examples include sock helpers, larger grip utensils, door openers, appointment reminders, and many more. You can get ideas and do-it-yourself instructions online. For example, persons with tremors or shaky hands can add some weight to utensils and kitchen items to lessen the movement and increase the ease of cooking and eating.

For information on assistive devices, feel free to call our officeShawnee Alliance, or your local senior center. Additional information can be found by in our Aging and Disability Resource Guide, also available in booklet form our office in Carterville.