After a stroke, daily tasks such as getting around, cooking and bathing may be more difficult than before.
Many people benefit from using special equipment. There are many products available, some of which your local authority may be able to provide.
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 read text, such as a menu, aloud or identify 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 a 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 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.
Where can I get further information and advice?
Provides impartial advice to disabled people about assistive technology to suit individual needs. Regional centres may offer individual assessment, bespoke solutions and telephone support. Information on communication aids is also available.
Association of Independent Care Advisers (AICA)
Member organisation for Independent Care Advisers, who offer expert knowledge to the public on options for care. Their website provides contact details for local advisers and residential and nursing care. Some members also provide advocacy for care home residents.
British Red Cross
Local branches may provide wheelchair hire or short-term loan of mobility aids and continence aids. Transport to medical appointments may also be available. The website has an online shop of products to enable independent living.
Disabled Living Foundation
Impartial advice and information about adapted and specialist equipment for people living with a disability. Includes possible sources of funding or second-hand equipment.
Provides advice about accommodation options and allows you to search for retirement housing and care homes. Provided by Elderly Accommodation Counsel.
This supplier of assistive technology has an online shop offering a wide range of hardware and software that is adapted to specific needs and ergonomically designed.
Provides wide-ranging services for disabled people, including residential care services, supported living and holiday accommodation. Their rehabilitation for brain injury is available in Suffolk.
Relatives and Residents Association (R&RA)
Support with decisions about moving into long-term residential care, making the transition to a care home and problems with quality of life in a care home.
Which? Elderly Care
A source of free and independent information and advice on care choices for older people across the UK and we thought your visitors may benefit from the service we provide.