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How to choose the right equipment for you

How To Choose The Right Equipment Panel

Living independently at home as you age or manage a disability often involves utilising assistive equipment. However, with a vast array of options available, selecting the most suitable equipment can feel overwhelming.

Step 1: Identify your needs

The first step is to identify the specific areas where you require assistance. For example, difficulty with mobility, challenges in the bathroom, difficulties with daily activities, vision impairment, or hearing loss.

Think about any equipment or assistive technology that has worked for you at work or other places you go, such as a community centre or somebody else's house.

Step 2: Assess your home environment

Once you've identified your needs, consider your home environment to ensure the chosen equipment fits seamlessly. For example, consider how much space is available, the room layout, electrical outlets, and any weight restrictions. 

Step 3: Research and evaluate equipment options

With a clear understanding of your needs and home environment, research the available equipment options.

Search for product reviews

Research products online, considering your criteria and price range. Read reviews from experts, customers, friends, and social media channels. Remember that reviews are subjective, so what works for others might not work for you.

Talk to other people

To find disability equipment, assistive technology, or phone apps, talk to your friends, online communities, or forums for recommendations.

Search on social media

Social media can be a great source of information or connection with others in similar situations. You can try using searches, disability blogs, Facebook groups, or podcasts.

Questions to ask suppliers

Ask these questions before you buy any piece of equipment or assistive aid:

  • Can you try the product before buying it?
  • Do they offer short-term hiring options?
  • Is there a warranty, what does it cover, and how long is the item covered?
  • Will the company service the equipment?
  • Are spare parts easy to find?
  • What's the return policy if something breaks or you change your mind? 
  • Can you claim VAT relief? 

Try before you buy

There are many ways to try equipment and assistive technology before you buy.

Most specialist suppliers let you try disability equipment and assistive technology products. Other shops might have a disability specialist to talk you through your options.

Some online retailers offer free home demonstrations, but check their website for details. 

Some suppliers offer short-term loans for you to try products before buying.

You might also wish to consult your doctor or occupational therapist, as they might be able to recommend a solution based on your specific medical condition and functional limitations.

Step 4: Focus on functionality and ease of use

When evaluating equipment, prioritise functionality and ease of use. Some products can be custom-made or adapted to your needs. For example, some specialist chairs can be adapted to your body shape.

Step 5: Consider safety features

Safety is paramount. Look for equipment with features that minimise the risk of falls or injuries.

Where to buy equipment to help you complete your daily tasks

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.



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