Equipment to help at home
If you find that you are having difficulty with everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and cooking, and or with moving round your home, there may be specialist equipment available which will allow you to do these things safely and independently.
And if you are the carer for someone with physical health problems then having the right equipment in place can make your work both easier and safer.
There is a wide range of equipment options out there, and you may be surprised at what's available. This list doesn't cover everything but will give some idea of what you can expect to find either from your council or to buy privately :-
- shower stools
- reachers - for picking things up from the floor
- kettle tippers, adapted cutlery and other kitchen gadgets
- grab rails - for helping you walk about the house, or keep your balance in the bath
- specialist beds and chairs, including ones which rise up or sink back down at the push of a button
- hoists - for people who can no longer carry their own weight and need to be helped up out of bed or chair
- bath lifts
- standing frames to help people walk about
- raised toilet seats
- commodes - mini toilets for people who cannot get to the bathroom by themselves
- special mattresses and cushions - for people who have to spend a long time in bed or have skin which is vulnerable to pressure care
Local pharmacies or GPs often offer advice and brochures to help you choose home equipment.
And the Red Cross can offer short-term loans of some kinds of equipment.
Buying equipment online
Do you want to find useful gadgets and products that can help you stay mobile at home and help with day to day tasks?
- Ask Sara is a simple-to-use website that will ask you a few questions confidentially about you and your home environment, and will then give you a free personalised report with advice and suggestions for relevant products. Find out more
From there you can also look at the products recommended and these websites which also sell equipment online. People First cannot recommend individual websites but has provided links below to some of the websites out there. We try to check all these sites for content, but cannot guarantee the content or links in any way. No items have been tested by People First and all information is provided without legal responsibility.
- Manage@home (from Medequip, who supply equipment on behalf of the local health services, and Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea councils)
- Blue Badge Style (with an emphasis on stylish and trendy equipment)
Seeing the equipment before you buy it
Before you buy any equipment you may find it useful to visit one of the centres listed on Disability Living Foundation's (DLF) Equipment Demonstration Centre page to see what is available and what works best for you.
Please be aware that you may need to make an appointment before you visit.
Depending on your situation you may be offered the chance to see a specially-trained professional such as a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist following a spell in hospital, or after you see a GP, district nurse, or social worker. Following an assessment you may be offered equipment which will help you to do things more safely or independently in your home.
You can also contact your local Social Services yourself for a care assessment to see if you are eligible for support from the Council to install home equipment. A trained professional will assess you to find out if there is equipment that could help you, and may also see if there are other ways to help you to regain your independence. They will then give you a 'prescription' for the equipment to take to an accredited supplier of your choice (see below for details of local suppliers). This means you will get your equipment free of charge.
You may also, if you wish, pay extra (a 'top-up') towards a version of the equipment that is more to your taste; for example, you may choose a different model, or a different colour, which you like better.
Your local authority will be able to give you more information about this at your care assessment.
Depending on your situation you may find that you want to make significant changes to the layout of your home to make it more suitable for you instead of simply installing small pieces of equipment - go to our page on Major Adaptations in Your Home for more information.
For those with significant physical disablilites, the North Thames Regional Environmental Control Equipment Service (NTRECES) from the NHS can provide electronic equipment so individuals with significant physical disabilities can control appliances within their own homes and call for help. This includes help with access to computers and smart devices.
The NHS website provides advice on Equipment and alarms for carers
The Which website offers advice on choosing and accessing equipment.