Caring Web

Availability and Use of Assistive and Adaptive Devices

Some individuals will have difficulty in walking, balancing, or performing some activities of daily living (such as dressing and bathing), even after rehabilitation. Special equipment called assisitve and adaptive devices may help.

What are assistive and adaptive devices?

They are any items, pieces of equipment, or products which have been modified and are used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Goals of Assistive and Adaptive Devices:

adaptive-Allow for independence
-Improve overall quality of life
-Accomplish daily living activities
-Improve physical and/or mental functioning
-Overcome disorder or impairment
-Strengthen weakness
-Place focus on what is possible-not what is not Assistive and adaptive devices can help with communication, mobility, vision, and hearing deficits. They can be as simple as raised grip handles on a toothbrush to as technologically complex as computer switches which are activated by the blinking of an eye.

Examples of Assistive and Adaptive Devices

Eating devices:
Rocker knifes
Toileting aids:
Elevated toilet seat
Grab Bars
Scoop dishes Dressing aids:
Velcro fasteners
Long-handled shoe horn
Bedside commode or urinal Communication Aids:
Homemade letter boards
Bathing and Grooming devices:
Long-handled sponge
Long-handled brush
Shower chair Transfer devices:
Plastic or wooden transfer board
Gait belt
Hydraulic lifts
Non skid flooring strips
Mobility devices:
Motorized scooter
Ankle-foot orthotic devices (braces)

In order for the device to be successful, it must be a good match for the limitation being faced. Together the stroke survivor, caregiver, and healthcare professionals should decide what special equipment is needed. Medicare or health insurance may assist in paying for some types of assistive and adaptive devices such as ankle-foot braces. Other types may be purchased inexpensively at local department stores such as Walmart or Target. Ask your local pharmacist where these devices can be purchased in your area.

Additional Information:

Here are some sample questions that may be helpful for you:
How do I know which assistive or adaptive devices could be most useful for the stroke survivor?
How is a certain assistive or adaptive device correctly used?

The following are some websites to provide you with more information to help you in understanding the vast availability and use of assistive and adaptive devices.

What is Assistive Technology?

ABLEDATA: Assistive Technology Information


Gillen, G., & Burkhardt, A. (1998). Stroke rehabilitation: A function-based approach. New York: Mosby.

Gould, RD., & Barnes S. (2009, February). Post stroke rehabilitation. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.

National Stroke Association. (2009). Stroke facts: Recovery after stroke: Managing life at home. Retrieved from

Developed in 2001 by Tammy Allison, BS at the University of Toledo for the Caring~Web©

Revised 2010, 2012

Last Updated: 6/27/22