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Assistive Devices DO Expire!

Are you looking for a walker for mom? Are you planning to find one at a garage sale? Is your friend passing down used hearing devices? Shopper beware, as these accessible and assistive devices do expire.

Just like when you were buying a car seat for a newborn, it’s important to find a recently-manufactured one that is user-specific – not all are built the same, nor will they be useful and safe for every user.

When Mary was handed down a fifteen-year-old used walker, she was thrilled that she didn’t have to spend her own money on one! Little did she know that walker would in time hurt her wrists with every bump of the sidewalk. Why? Because when it was manufactured fifteen years ago, the technology wasn’t what it is today – shock absorption and design has been vastly improved upon since then.

An ill-fitting device can cause a sore back, strain the neck and shoulders, even cause trips and falls.

Learn your options

For walkers, for example, there are a number of devices that are specific to each person’s abilities: From folding walkers for those who need to put significant weight onto it, to rollator walkers for those who need a walker for balance but do not need to put much weight onto it. There are 3-wheel walkers, U-step walkers, even knee walkers. The designs have come a long way, and not every device will fit every person, even physically. It’s important to take into consideration the person’s abilities, strength, stride, even height.

The same goes for hearing devices, respiratory equipment, visual aids, etc. When in doubt, speak with your healthcare provider or visit your nearest specialty equipment consultant. For many devices, there are rental options available to ‘test drive’ before you buy, and money-back guarantees.•

Did You Know...

If someone you know has a long-term physical disability, they can get help paying for equipment and supplies through the government’s Assistive Devices Program. In addition, the War Amps, Lions Club, March of Dimes can also assist with financial support.

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