5 Categories of Assistive Living Aids March 26 2015

There are a number of different assistive living devices on the market today each providing a solution to those who have a need. Each device helps extend independence in their preferred environment and enhance their quality of life.

What are Assistive Living Aids?

Independent living devices are tools, that are used long or short term, to assist people who have disabilities, medical diseases, and the elderly who find completing everyday tasks challenging. Currently, about 10% of the total world’s population lives with a disability. People with disabilities is on the rise.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau people older than 75 have a disability rate of 8 times tmore than those who are 45 and younger and 40 % of all persons with a disability are now over the age of 60. (1)(2) The importance of assistive living aids is to increase people’s quality of life and their independence. There are many different categories and types of assistive devices which include: access equipment, bathroom aids, mattresses, breathing aids, lifts, and mobility aids.

1. Access Equipment

Access equipment is equipment that aids people who have disabilities that need help with accessing stairs. Instead of asking for assistance wheelchair users have the option to use either a wheelchair ramp or vertical principle lift. The up and down platform lift, which offers an elevator canal and lifting in a single unit. Many platform lifts include a metal platform and wireless remotes, with call buttons. These platforms are built to support about 500 pounds and often provide a lower cost than wheelchair elevators. (3) For example, the EZ-Access Passport® Vertical Platform Lift providing a tower and gate for easy access, plug-n-play wiring, dc-power, and is known as the lightest residential platform on the market. 

2. Bathroom Aids

People with limited mobility can take back their dignity in the bathroom by using bathroom aids. There are multiple types of bathroom aids a few examples would be grab rails or steps, bath stools or chairs, and toileting aids. Grab rails or steps are useful because it allows easy access to the bath, but also provides the needed support to help reduce the chances of slipping when bathing. Bath stools also provide support by allowing a person to sit at the right height for bathing which help to reduce the pain or hardship of bathing. Toileting aids can also help people improve their quality of life and regain their independence and dignity with personal grooming. For example, the FreedomWand® is a 4 in 1 personal hygiene tool that aids people with bathing, showering, toileting, and ointment application. It comes with a cloth carry bag and can be used from 14 - 25 inches and breaks down for easy portability.  Being independent with your toileting leads to a much more active and fulfilling lifestyle!


3. Bed and Mattress Aids

Bed and Mattress aids provide essential comfort for sleeping and the well-being of a person. A few categories found in bed and mattress aids are height adjustable beds, pressure reducing mattresses, and pillow lifts. For example, the Maxifloat LFP provides 360 degree zipper, 4-way stretch top cover, and a firm fourth layer designed for extra support to help prevent “bottoming out”. This pressure reducing mattress can help a person with limited mobility reduce bedsores and restless nights. (6)

4. Breathing Aids

Breathing aids provide people with a solution to breathing easier, either by strengthening their lungs or supporting the nasal passage. Improper breathing can also affect a persons sleep pattern causing them to have restless nights. For instance, a person can have a medical condition called Sleep Apnea, which is commonly found when breathing is paused for some time during sleep. (7) This type of apnea lasts from a very few seconds to minutes, but breathing becomes normal with a loud snore or choking noise. A few categories of breathing aids include ventilator, pluse oximeter, and CPAP/BiPAP machines. Each provides the needed help with a person’s breathing condition.

5. Mobility Aids

Mobility aids enable people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish.  Technology provides enhancements to or a changed method to accomplish the needed task. (11) Mobility aids can provide aid for different medical conditions or disabilities for instance canes, crutches and walkers provide the user independence by redistributing their body weight.  Wheelchairs and scooters provide their user independence by enabling them to move around without assistance.


Assistive living devices are very important offering ways for people to perform tasks that they cannot do normally, improving their health, increasing their independence, and providing a way for them to improve their quality of life.



Article Sources:

  1. http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/statistics/
  2. http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf
  3. http://www.wheelchairs-guide.com/vertical-platform-lifts-versus-wheelchair-ramps
  4. http://legalbrief.com/kirshman.html
  5. http://seniors.lovetoknow.com/Assistive_Living_for_the_Elderly
  6. http://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/aging-1/misc-aging-news-10/caregiving-beds- pads-and-beyond-643587.html
  7. http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/article_2681.shtml
  8. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-breathing-aid.htm
  9. http://psychsocgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/2/P117.full
  10. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0618/3501/files/KD-Smart-Chair-wheelchair-infographic.jpg?1388
  11.  http://www.disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/