Would you prefer to continue to do everyday activities for yourself without having to rely on others for assistance? To many, independence is key to living a satisfied and fulfilled life as it plays an integral role to a person’s sense of self and their overall health and wellbeing.
As people age or develop chronic health conditions it is common to experience difficulties in completing meaningful activities and as a result great efforts are made to remain as independent as possible.
Personal care services and assistive equipment are reportedly the most common strategies used to overcome barriers in carrying out every day activities. Assistive equipment is the term used for any item or device which can help a person carry out an activity and can range from modified cutlery, walking sticks and frames, sock aids, shower chairs and stools, raised toilet seats through to manual and electric wheelchairs, specialised beds, fall-detector pendent alarms, iPads and other communication devices.
Traditionally community support services were introduced when people were faced with challenges maintaining their own personal care or social roles. Help from another person may reduce the difficulty experienced when carrying out a daily activity such as showering, dressing, cooking and accessing the community, however historically little focus was placed on enabling the person to regain their confidence or finding new ways to self-manage.
There are many people who with the use of alternative strategies, an assistive aid or home modification would be able to regain their independence once more. Growing awareness of the benefits associated with preserving a person’s independence has led to the introduction of the Wellness and Reablement philosophies across Home and Community Care services. Both Reablement and Wellness offer potential benefits as many people may be able to regain or retain their independence and may no longer need to rely on family or community supports for assistance with every day activities. More and more people are encouraged to do as much as they can for themselves and achieve what is important to them through goal setting, rebuilding strength and endurance through exercise programs, home modifications and the use of assistive equipment.
Assistive equipment has a vital role to play in enabling a person in their home and community as it can help meet the support needs of people who live with a disability and enable them to gain greater control over their own lives. Assistive technologies can be used in the home, at work, for recreation or leisure, for exercise, and for daily living activities. They can help us to mobilise, communicate and maintain social connectedness. The ever-increasing range of products available means there is greater success in meeting the needs of people and their environmental demands.
Approximately 1.74 million Australians with a disability rely on aids and equipment and with the wide range of assistive devices available today people can continue to find new and innovative ways to do activities that they enjoy doing. The use of assistive equipment can help people to remain independent in their own homes for longer, maintaining a greater sense of autonomy and self-sufficiency which are both key to positive ageing. In addition assistive equipment is thought to be a contributing factor to the recent decline in the prevalence of late-life disability as their use is associated with a reduced risk of falls, improved level of function and decreased dependency on personal care supports. Assistive equipment can also be used both independently and in conjunction with home care support services to build a safer and more efficient environment for support staff, allowing more time to do the things people enjoy most.
Assistive equipment is changing the lives of people each day and can make a difference to any person of any age. For more information on how assistive equipment can help you maximise your potential please contact our Assistive Equipment Service on 1300 885 886 to speak to one of our Occupational Therapists. You may also like to check out NED; our National Equipment Database where you can search for over 10,000 products assistive technology and equipment products to help people remain independent and improve their quality of life.