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Assistive Technology – Can You Benefit?

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Do you need a little more help to do some of the many things you used to do easily?

Are there tasks that you still want to accomplish on your own but just can’t quite do them?

Help is on the way in the form of assistive technology.

A variety of adaptive devices can help you maintain your independence for as long as possible allowing you to “age in place” without moving to the next level of care too quickly.

There are several different categories of assistive devices that can make a difference from a simple walker to an amplification system for the phone.

  • Home-construction in your home such as building ramps; installing grab bars or reconfiguring doorways to help overcome barriers or recover from an injury, anything to allow you to remain independent in your home
  • Daily activity-devices that help with tasks of daily living such as bathing, eating, grooming, holding, reaching, or toileting. The goal is to remain independent for as long as possible.
  • Mobility-electric wheelchair, walker, cane, wheelchair lift or stair elevator and any device/equipment that allows you to move about safely and independently
  • Communication-telephone amplifiers, hearing aids, auditory receivers, computer devices, alert systems and any device that allows you to send or receive information
  • Sensory enhancements for those with vision or hearing impairments-devices that allow you to engage in your environment such as television captioning, large print documents/books, voice activated devices, bed shaking alarms, magnification, time, travel, writing and reading in Braille and lighted doorbells
  • Therapy-access to all types of therapists to help you recover or regain optimum physical functioning as well as orthotic devices to help you control limbs and joints or amputation sites
  • Switches-allow you to turn on, off or adjust equipment such as air conditioners, computers, lights or answering machines; these can be voice activated or mouth activated

Carefully determine what you need before you purchase any device as most insurance companies and Medicare will not cover these devices unless they are determined to be durable medical equipment (necessary only for those who have an illness or injury and serve a medical purpose).

If you are a veteran, you may be able to receive adaptive devices from VA services. Another source of help is your local area agency for aging services that can often assist you with low-cost equipment.

Ask yourself if this device will help you continue to be independent. Seek the advice of your doctor, medical team, therapist, audiologist or family members. As more older Americans and their families try to remain in their home setting as long as possible, the use of assistive technology can make all the difference.

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