Assistive Devices for People With Disabilities

Topic Overview

Assistive devices are tools that help you hold objects, open and close doors, transfer weight while shifting positions, or walk. They assist you by making certain daily activities easier to do.

Assistive devices can help you with daily activities such as bathing, grooming, dressing, walking or otherwise being mobile, writing, or eating. These devices can be simple, such as special hooks to help you button a shirt, or elaborate, such as a power wheelchair or a computer that can be controlled by a mouth switch if you are unable to use your limbs.

Examples include:

  • Bathing tools, such as tub or shower grab bars to help you get in and out of the bathtub.
  • Grooming and dressing tools, such as button or zipper hooks to help you button and unbutton your clothes, electric toothbrushes, and combs and brushes with bigger and easier-to-grab handles.
  • Writing and reading tools, such as grips on pens or a magnifying glass to help with vision problems.
  • Movement devices, such as canes, braces, walkers, or even electric scooters. Wheelchairs can also keep you mobile.
  • Special lifts that can be attached to help you get in and out of your bed, automobile, or even your bathtub.

Credits

Current as of: August 4, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Karin M. Lindholm DO - Neurology

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
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