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Equipment to help you

Eating and drinking

The Disabled Living Foundation has advice on equipment to make eating and drinking easier.

Equipment to make eating and drinking easier

Getting dressed

The Disability Living Foundation have information and advice about how you can adapt your clothes and dressing accessories, to make getting dressed by yourself easier.

Equipment to help you put socks and shoes on.

Kitchen

If you have lost strength in your hands, it can be very difficult to prepare and cook food. There are lots of aids available including jar openers, kettle tippers and special food preparation boards. 

If you are worried about dropping a pan of hot water when you are boiling vegetables, a simple solution is to put your prepared vegetables into a small chip basket inside the pan. Take a look at the video below to see how this works.

Advice about equipment you can use to make preparing food easier.

How to safely make a hot drink.

Living room

It's really important to make sure you get a chair that is the right size and height for you. If you find it hard to get up from your chair, a riser recliner chair might help you. This is an electric-powered chair that can raise up slowly, making it easier for you to stand up.

Things to think about when choosing a chair.

Bedroom

The Disabled Living Foundation has information about equipment to help you get in and out of bed and also on different types of bed.

A bed lever can help you get in and out of bed if you have poor mobility or balance problems.

A height adjustable bed can help you get in and out of bed, and also help you change position once in bed.

Bathroom

The Disabled Living Foundation has information about equipment to help you with tasks such as:

bathing
showering
using the toilet

Applying lotion and brushing your hair

A lotion applicator and long-handled hairbrush could help you if you have poor shoulder movement.

Washing your back

A long-handled back washer can help if you have stiff shoulders or elbows.

Advice on how to wash your back if you have poor mobility.

If you can't stand for long periods of time

A perching stool can help you if you find it hard to stand up for long periods of time. You can sit on it while you're using the sink. You can also use it in other places around the house, such as the kitchen.

A perching stool can help you if you find it hard to stand up.

Getting in and out of the bath

A powered bath lift can help you by lowering you slowly into the bath. It will also raise you up again when you are ready to get out.

A bath board is a simple bit of equipment that gives you extra support when getting into the bath. It also gives you a seat if you need it, while using an over-bath shower.

A swivel bather gives a bit more support than a bath board and allows you to sit down while using an over-bath shower.

A powered bath lift can lower you into the bath.

A bath board gives you something to sit on if you want to use the over-bath shower, it can also give you a bit of extra support when getting into the bath.

A swivel bather gives a bit more support than a bath board and can help you use the over-bath shower.

Where to find equipment

We have a directory of equipment suppliers who you can buy equipment from directly.

Contact us if you would like to talk to someone about equipment.

Equipment to help you get out and about

Choosing the right equipment

Before you are provided with equipment, or you buy it, it's worth getting advice to make sure that the type of equipment you are getting is the best to meet your needs.  You can talk to your GP or practice nurse, local pharmacist or social care staff.

If buying yourself, you may be eligible for VAT relief on devices and services you buy specifically to help you cope with your long-term condition or disability.  Your retailer should be able to advise you if this is the case.

Organisations that can give independent information and advice
You can get independent reports from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers. There are a number of Mobility and Motoring guides available on their website. Or you can telephone 020 7427 2460.

The Money Advice Service website has advice about shopping around for disability aids and equipment.

Disabled Living Foundation gives impartial advice about aids and equipment. Helpline: 0300 999 0004.

Ask Sara is a useful website which asks questions about the problems you are having and suggests products that might be helpful.

Living Made Easy provides advice on a wide range of equipment.

Walking aids and frames


There are many sorts of different walking aids, including walking sticks, crutches and frames.  A walking aid is only useful if you know how to use it properly and safely.  Always ask to be shown how it works when you buy new equipment.

The Disabled Living Foundation has information about walking aids.

The British Red Cross loan temporary walking aids.

Things you need to think about when choosing your walking aid.

Getting in and out of the car

Getting in and out of the car can be difficult if you have poor mobility. Something as simple as a handy bar can help.

A handy bar can help you to get in and out of the car.

Wheelchairs

You can buy your own wheelchair from an equipment supplier. The NHS can also supply wheelchairs. Ask your GP for more details or go to the Dorset Wheelchair Service website.

Short-term loan wheelchairs are available from the British Red Cross, usually for a loan period of 6 weeks. This may be helpful while waiting for a permanent wheelchair to be issued.

If you are thinking of buying your own wheelchair:

Which has guidance about choosing the right one.

The Money Advice Service website has advice about shopping around for disability aids and equipment.

Disabled Living Foundation gives impartial advice about aids and equipment.

Helpline: 0300 999 0004.

Things you need to think about when choosing a wheelchair.

Mobility scooters

There are two main types of mobility scooter:

  • 8mph scooters - these are designed to be used on the road and will need to be registered with the DVLA.
  • 4mph scooters - these are not for road use and are legally allowed on the pavement.
  • Road safety the number of people using powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters has increased in recent years. Before taking one of these vehicles out on to the road or pavement make sure that you have a good understanding of the rules concerning their use and that you undertake training. 
  • Highway Code rules for users of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. 
  • DVLA guide to registering powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. 
  • Code of practice for Class 3 vehicle users from the Department of Transport.
  • You can buy scooters from equipment providers.

The Motability scheme allows some disabled people getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or War Pensioners Mobility Supplement (WPMS) to obtain a car, powered wheelchair or scooter.

If you are able to go out to do your own shopping, Shopmobility may help. 

You can rent or buy equipment from some commercial companies, but it's important to take independent advice to ensure you make the best choice.

Things you need to think about when choosing your mobility scooter.

Where to find equipment

We have a directory of equipment suppliers who you can buy equipment from directly.

Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists can visit you at home to talk about what you might need.

Contact us if you would like to talk to someone about equipment.

Equipment help and advice

At some time in our lives it may become difficult to carry out everyday tasks. Using equipment and technology can mean that you do not have to rely on others to stay independent for longer.

Our top ten things to think about will help you to plan your future care, even if you don't need support at the moment.

The NHS have mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walkers. You can ask your GP for more details or go to the Dorset Wheelchair Service website.

Find equipment suppliers

Independent Living Centres

If you're not sure what equipment might help you, you can visit an independent living centre. Expert staff at the centre can help you and your family or carer choose the best equipment to meet your needs. You can see and try different things and sometimes even borrow small pieces of equipment to try at home before you buy. They can also provide information and advice on suppliers and services.

There is a wide range of products for you to look at and try, including:

  • bathing and showering aids
  • riser-recliner chairs and armchairs
  • wheelchairs, scooters, and walking aids
  • meal preparation, feeding and drinking products
  • beds and associated items
  • clothing and personal care products including toileting, washing, dressing aids
  • moving and handling equipment
  • telecare solutions

The centre does not sell anything so the information and advice they provide is impartial and free and you will be under no pressure to make a decision.

The Mi-Life Greenwood Centre, based in Dorchester is open for visits. The Centre is a level access building and has parking (including disabled parking) spaces. It's wheelchair accessible, with an adapted toilet. Please telephone Millbrook Healthcare for an appointment.

Millbrook Healthcare

  • Email: milifegreenwood@millbrookhealthcare.co.uk
  • Tel: 033 300 300 10
  • Text: 07817 359722
  • Letter: Millbrook Healthcare, Higher Shaftesbury Road, Sunrise Business Park, Blandford Forum, DT11 8ST
  • Visit us: Mi-Life Greenwood Centre for Independent Living, Maiden Castle Road, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 2ER

Sight and hearing centres

We have information about sight and hearing if you have an impairment. We also have sight and hearing centres. Like Independent Living Centres these offer an opportunity to see and try out specialist equipment and to get advice.

Bournemouth Blind Society Sight and Hearing Resource Centre

Bournemouth Blind Society
5 Victoria Park Road
Bournemouth
Dorset
BH9 2RB

Tel: 01202 546644

Dorset Blind Association - Equipment and Advice Centre

17 Bournemouth Road
Lower Parkstone
Poole
Dorset
BH14 0EF

Tel: 01202 712865

Mi-Life Greenwood Centre for Independent Living

Mi-Life Greenwood Centre for Independent Living
Maiden Castle Road
Dorchester
Dorset
DT1 2ER

Tel: 033 300 30010

South West Dorset Talking Newspaper

Moose Lodge
187 Chickerell Road
Weymouth
Dorset
DT4 0BW

Tel: 01305 783628

Returning equipment

NHS supplied equipment

Contact NRS Healthcare or call 0344 893 6364 if you have been supplied equipment by the NHS or the council such as commodes, raised toilet seats, rise and recliner chairs, walking frames, perching stools and other similar items and want to return them.

Disabled Facilities Grant

Equipment installed under a Disabled Facilities Grant such as a stair-lift can be returned to the council to be reissued if it is under three years old.

Please contact 0370 011 8282.

Privately purchased equipment

The cost to remove privately purchased equipment will be payable by the homeowner and we advise that you should get quotes from at least three companies.