Mobility Equipment and Disability Aids
There is a large variety of mobility equipment and disability aids for everyday living available to help people with Parkinson's. Mobility and disability aids can help people to maintain independence in the activities that are most important to them.
Some aids used by people with Parkinson’s include:
- Mobility aids to assist with safety and independence whilst walking
- Personal care aids to assist with independence during activities such as showering and dressing
- Communication aids to improve speech and communication
Aids and equipment can be highly specialised, so finding the right help and advice is essential. An experienced and skilled health professional will help you to select the aids and equipment most suited to your needs.
This section covers:
- Advice on equipment and aids
- How an occupational therapist can help
- How a physiotherapist can help
- How a speech pathologist can help
- More information about equipment
- Home modifications
- Support for you
If you have Parkinson's and you're considering buying mobility equipment or disability aids for everyday living, it's essential that you first have an assessment from a relevant therapist.
A therapist will assess your needs and make informed recommendations. They can also help you to access the State-Wide Equipment Program (SWEP). This program provides a subsidy towards the cost of disability equipment and aids.
The type of therapist you need depends on what kind of activity is causing you problems.
If you need help with daily living activities such as washing, bathing, dressing, eating, reading and writing, an occupational therapist can assist. They can recommend the most suitable piece of equipment to help you in these areas. An occupational therapist can also advise on equipment to help with leisure activities such as gardening or sport.
If you have problems with mobility (walking) and may need equipment to help you get around, both in your home and outside, then you need to see a physiotherapist. People with Parkinson's and their carers can benefit significantly from even short-term or occasional contact with physiotherapists. They can recommend equipment or other forms of physical therapy to help improve your mobility.
If you have noticed changes to your speech or swallowing abilities, you may need to see a speech pathologist . Items such as voice amplifiers can be particularly helpful for improving communication in people living with Parkinson’s. A speech pathologist can advise you on communications aids as well as exercises and techniques related to speech and swallowing.
Yooralla’s Independent Living Centre (ILC) provides information about a large range of assistive and communication technologies to support children and adults with disability with their functional independence at home, work and in their communities.
Equipment can be viewed and trialed at the ILC showroom in Braybrook, Victoria. Therapists are available to provide information and advice. For more information you can phone the ILC on 1300 885 886 or visit their website at www.ilcaustralia.org.au.
As symptoms of Parkinson’s progress, it can become more difficult to move around safely and independently within your home. Making some changes to your home can make it easier and safer for you to live in. These changes are commonly referred to as home modifications.
Before making any modifications it's important to get expert advice. A home assessment by an occupational therapist will help to identify the parts of your home that are causing problems. After looking at your home and considering your symptoms, the occupational therapist may recommend modifications to your home.
Home modifications can range from small changes to major building work. They can include the following:
- Rails to doorways and stairs
- Half steps
- Widening of doorways
- Levelling of threshold strips between rooms
- Stair lifts
- Replacement of bath with shower
- Access to bedroom and/or bathroom
- Chair or bed raisers
The cost of modifications will depend on what is required. Some modifications can be very expensive. In Victoria, the cost of home modifications can be subsidised under the State-Wide Equipment Program (SWEP). Your occupational therapist will help you to make an application for funding to SWEP.
Please note: Occupational therapists are required to make their recommendations in line with the Australian Standards concerning accessibility of the built environment. These standards exist to ensure that buildings address the specific needs of people with disabilities.
- Your GP or specialist can refer you to a suitable health professional
- The Fight Parkinson’s Health Team can also provide advice about health professionals that may be suitable
- Call Fight Parkinson’s Information Line on 1800 644 189
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org