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Learning About Assistive Devices

What are assistive devices?

Assistive devices are tools that help make your life easier. You may also hear them called adaptive equipment.

They are tools that can help you with many activities, like bathing, grooming, dressing, walking, writing, or eating.

They can be simple or complex. They range from a fork with an extra-large handle to a power wheelchair.

Occupational therapists and physiotherapists are trained to help you learn what assistive devices can help you. They can also tell you where you can find them. In general, you can find these tools in drugstores, medical supply stores, or online. Some can be found in home improvement stores.

What are some examples of assistive devices?

Tools for grooming and dressing

Shower grab bar, bathtub grab bar, shoehorn, long-handled sponge.
slide 1 of 3
slide 1 of 3, Tools for grooming and dressing,

Examples include:

  • Tub or shower grab bars. They can help you get in and out of the bathtub.
  • Tools to help you get dressed. These include button or zipper hooks, shoehorns, and sock aids.
  • Electric toothbrushes and combs, and brushes that have big handles. They are easier to hold.
  • Long-handled sponges for bathing.
  • Velcro fasteners on clothes instead of small buttons or snaps.
  • Large pull tabs on zippers. These make zippers easier to hold and pull.

Tools for daily chores

Grabbing tool, doorknob extender, hand mirror with padded handle, wheeled cart.
slide 2 of 3
slide 2 of 3, Tools for daily chores,

These tools include:

  • Stools, carts, trash cans, and other objects on wheels so they can be pushed rather than carried or lifted.
  • Doorknob extenders. They help you open doors without twisting the doorknob.
  • Moulded or padded handles. They can make objects like keys, kitchen gadgets, combs, mirrors, and toothbrushes easier to hold.
  • Reaching or grabbing tools. You can use them to help you pick up items from the floor or from a high shelf.
  • Writing and reading tools, such as grips on pens or a magnifying glass to help you read.

Tools for moving around

Canes and a walker.
slide 3 of 3
slide 3 of 3, Tools for moving around,

Examples include:

  • Movement devices, such as canes, braces, walkers, and even electric scooters. Wheelchairs can also keep you mobile.
  • Raised toilet seats, with or without rails to help you sit and stand. They can make it safer and easier to use the toilet.
  • Special lifts that can be attached to help you get in and out of your bed or car, or even your bathtub.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter R608 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Assistive Devices".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.