Equipment for independent living and mobility

Many people benefit from using special equipment. There are many products available, some of which your local authority may be able to provide.

New technology makes it possible to operate equipment in your home using a remote control or a mobile phone. For example, starting a dishwasher, switching on lights and locking doors.

Types of equipment

There is a huge range of equipment and technology available to make everyday life easier. Some examples are:

Bathing aids: Grab rails, non-slip mats, bath and shower seats.

Dressing: Long-handled devices to help you do up your buttons, specialist clothing with easy-to-use fastenings.

Furniture: Electric beds and chairs to help you sit up or stand up.

Kitchen aids: Easy-to-use tin openers, kettle tippers, non-slip mats and cutlery with large handles for easy grip.

Mobility aids: Walking sticks and frames, wheelchairs, electric scooters, stairlifts.

Making life at home safer: Personal alarms, grab rails, sensor mats, movement sensory lights.

Telephones: Landline phones are available with large displays and flashing lights.

Mobile phones, tablets: Most mobile phones and tablets offer accessibility features like voice-activated internet searches. Apps can do things like reading text such as a menu aloud or identifying products in supermarkets. For more information about accessible technology visit abilitynet.org.uk.

Digital assistants or smart speakers: Examples of voice-activated smart speakers include the Amazon Echo and Google Home. You give instructions verbally for functions like playing music or searching the internet. It can be linked to the radio and TV or other devices in the house. Some apps let you control the heating, answer a door, or open curtains via a smart speaker.

Help with buying equipment

If you need help and support at home after a stroke, contact your local authority. They can arrange for you to have support and care needs assessment. This assessment is usually done by an occupational therapist or social worker who will visit you at home.

As part of the assessment, they will look at whether you need any equipment or adaptations in your home. The help you can get from your local authority is means-tested.

This means that the amount of money you get depends on your income and other circumstances, so you may have to pay for some of the help you need yourself. There may also be some types of equipment that your local authority will not provide for free.

Where can I get advice?

The Disabled Living Foundation has a range of resources to help you decide which pieces of equipment could help you, and where you can buy them from.

There are also Disabled Living Centres in the UK where you can get advice on aids and equipment. Most of them have products on show, so you can try them out before you buy them.

Aids and equipment can vary in price so it’s worth contacting a few different suppliers before buying a product. Some suppliers will let you try things out before you buy them, or you may be able to hire equipment if you only need it for a short time.

Personal alarms

Personal alarm systems (sometimes called community alarms) can help you to stay independent in your own home. They usually involve an alarm system that is linked to your telephone and a pendant with a button that you wear around your neck so you can press it and automatically call for help in an emergency. Some alarms are also linked to the smoke detector.

If you think you would benefit from a personal alarm, make sure you mention it at your support and care needs assessment. Or contact your local authority directly, as they may be able to provide one or suggest a suitable alarm system for you.

Information

Other resources

Stroke Association Helpline
Helpline: 0303 3033 100
Email: helpline@stroke.org.uk
Contact us for information about stroke, emotional support and details of local services and support groups

RiDC (Research Institute for Disabled Consumers)
Phone: 0720 7427 2460
Email: mail@ridc.org.uk

AA Mobility Scotland
Phone: 01236 761 596
Supplies a range of mobility aids and equipment in Scotland.

Able2Wear Ltd
Phone: 0141 775 3738
Specialist clothing for people with disabilities.

Anything Left-Handed
Phone: 01737 888 269
Specialist products for people who use their left hand.

Health Care Equipment
Phone: 0845 260 7061
Email: info@otstores.co.uk
Supplies daily living, occupational therapy and physiotherapy aids.

Hearing and Mobility
Phone: 0800 033 4060
Sells a wide range of products including household and mobility equipment.

NRS Healthcare
Phone: 0345 121 8111
Email: customerservice@nrshealthcare.co.uk
Catalogue of aids and equipment for independent living and rehabilitation.

Performance Health
Phone: 03448 730 035
Email: ukmedicalsales@performancehealth.com
Offers a range of medical and rehabilitation equipment.

Remap (England and Wales)
Phone: 01732 760 209
Remap (Scotland)
Phone: 01732 760 209
Remap is a charity that makes or adapts equipment for people with disabilities if nothing suitable is already available.

Telecare Services Association
Phone: 01625 520 320
List suppliers of alarms across the UK

Disclaimer: The Stroke Association provides the details of other organisations for information only. Inclusion on My Stroke Guide does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement.