Technical Aids

What Is It?

Technical aid and assistance devices are accessories, equipment and devices conceived to facilitate your mobility, communication, daily activities and tasks at home, at work or during your free time. Technical devices can be custum made for your condition or they may already be available on the market. They compensate for your disability or reduce your handicap. In this way, they can maximize your autonomy as well as contribute to your security and improve your quality of life.
Here are some examples of technical aid and assitance devices :
  • Aids to Mobility
    • canes, walkers, crutches, forearm crutches, wheelchairs, scooters…
  • Aids to daily living
    • Bathroom : toilet seat elevation, mural suspension bars, anti-slip and safe for bath and shower, shower seat…
    • Kitchen : ergonomical jar opener, clip-on food guard, non-skid tablemat, adjustable kitchen stool, good grips flexible ustensiles…
    • Laundry : laundry located on the ground floor, easy-access appliance…
    • Bedroom : auto-rising bed…
    • Phone : visual or loud ringer, phone with large button…
    • Dress-up : dressing stick, button up aid, shoe horn…
    • Accessibility : inclined plans, access ramps, automatic open-doors, intercoms…
    • Handling objects : grip extension, tables with wheels…
  • Aids to leisure and computing
    • support for playing cards, gardening tools with extended handle, audio books, magnifying glasses, adapted mouses, modified keyboard…
  • Orthesis
    • plantar orthotics, orthopedic shoes, braces…

 

How To Obtain It?

If you believe that you could benefit from using a technical device, talk about it with an health professional, preferably a specialist (like an occupational therapist, an orthopedist, a physiatrist or a neurologist) but if not, it can also be with a doctor or a pharmacist (for certain assistance devices). Contact your local CLSC to be referred to the proper resources. Also, it can be useful to do research to find information in specialty magazines, the yellow pages or internet. Find what options could answer your needs.
Many functional aids are easy to buy since they are not subjected, such as drugs, to a medical regulation. You can find them in department stores, pharmacies, specialized stores or computer stores.
For others technical aids that are more specialized or more expensive, you will need an examination by a professional who will be able to evaluate your condition, to recommend and provide with you a suitable aid that fits your needs.

 

Advice

  • When it comes to technical aids, it is possible, with a prescription, to avoid paying taxes on the purchase.
  • If the assistance device is expensive, look for a place where you can rent or borrow it before buying it. It will give you the opportunity to test it and evaluate more concretely if it is the one you need.
  • When you talk about your weakness and needs with an health professional, be honest with yourself and with him. A technical aid will be good only if it is the one which is appropriate for your needs and if you use it.
  • Ensure to get technical aids from reliable sources. Show prudence when you buy it online or if you buy used products.
  • Keep in mind that it is not always easy for a person to agree to modify her environment and to change old habits. New assistance devices can be easy to use but some of them can require more time and training, from the person who needs it and from those who act as a caregiver.
  • If you decide to buy a scooter, think about the dimensions. Take into account your living quarters and public transportation, and ensure that its size does not limit your activities and travel possibilities. Radio-Canada published a french article online about it on September 3rd, 2010 : Un handicapé incapable de prendre l’autocar.

 

For More Information

“Assistive Devices Info-Sheet for Seniors”

Public Health Agency of Canada. This fact sheet provides information on assistive devices, their use and where you can obtain them. Canadians of all ages and situations have improved their quality of life, thanks to assistive tools that respond to their particular needs. Why wouldn’t you?

If you want to consult this document online, click here.

 

“Go for It! A Guide to Choosing and Using Assistive Devices”

Public Health Agency of Canada. A thorough and useful document designed to encourage seniors to explore all the assistive devices at their disposal. Its large print, amusing illustrations and clear directives present advice on how seniors and others with disabilities can overcome their difficulties by using aids that range from high technology to simple kitchen gadgets. It offers tips on figuring out what you need, where to obtain it and how to get financial help if you need it.

If you want to consult this document online, click here.

 

Seniors and Aging – Preventing Falls in and around Your Home

Health Canada. Anyone can fall, but the risk of falling becomes greater with age. There are a number of simple steps you can take in and around your home to help prevent falls and the injuries caused by falling.

If you want to consult this document online, click here.

 

Accessible Housing by Design — Lifts and Residential Elevators

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. A house that is designed and constructed to reflect the principles of universal design will be safer and more accommodating to everyone who lives or visits there, regardless of age or ability. Consistent with the philosophy of universal design, residential lifts and elevators provide an appropriate and equitable means of access for many people.

If you want to consult this document online, click here.

 

Constance-Lethbridge Rehabilitation Centre

Short videos about the Technical Aid Service. It gives information about some parts of a demand’s process.

To watch those short videos, click here.

 

Financial Help

There are a few financial help programs to help seniors or people with disabilities get functional aids they need, by paying a part of the cost or by facilitating loans. Private insurance, governmental programs, non-for-profit organizations…

You can find some of them in the page “Financial Help” in the “Resources” section.