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Trying out disability equipment and assistive technology

Before buying disability equipment or assistive technology, make sure you choose the right product for you.

Consider your needs

What are your needs and how might they change over time?

Some disability equipment can be expensive, so it’s also worth checking what you can do with things you already own.

Do some research

When you have a product in mind, see what other people say about it online. Some people find Facebook groups help with this.

You can also search for video reviews and tutorials of disability equipment and technology online or through YouTube.

Remember that what works for others may not be suitable for you.

Warning Reviews are not professional advice

Reviews and advice are often based on people’s personal experiences.

Reviews are not professional advice unless from the company or qualified expert. Only follow advice you feel comfortable with.

Always check if the company paid for or sponsored the product review as it may be more positive.

You could ask for advice about products from medical professionals, like your GP or occupational therapist. 

Compare products online

You can also look for and compare products on Living Made Easy.

If the item is coming from outside the European Union, ask about shipping, tax and courier fees.

Goods sent from abroad (GOV.UK)

Find product recommendations based on your needs

AskSARA offers a free online guide to help you find products for health, home and daily activities. Answer questions about topics, like ‘taking a bath’ or ‘shopping’. Then get a free report with recommendations for available products based on your answers.

Get a free personalised report (AskSARA)

Recommendations are impartial and written by Occupational Therapists (OT) and equipment experts. If you need more in-depth advice, ask for an assessment with a health care professional, like an OT.

Get an Occupational Therapy (OT) assessment

An OT can visit your home to help you assess your needs. Visits usually take at least an hour. You may be able to get help with costs.

Home adaptations and OT assessments

Home assessments (NHS.uk)

Try before you buy

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

In store or at home

Most specialist suppliers let you try disability equipment and assistive technology. For example, you can test drive adapted cars with Motability.

Some stores will let you try out products. Contact them to find out if they do.

Currys PC World, Dixons and Carphone Warehouse offer paid in-store tutorials (teamknowhow.com) where you can try out products.  

Other shops, like Apple stores, have disability specialists to talk you through your options.

Go with a list of questions. If they do not have the answers, ask for the manufacturer’s contact details.

Some online retailers like Mobility Solutions offer free home demonstrations too.

Short-term loans

Some suppliers offer short-term loans for you to try products before buying. Ask who covers the cost of delivery and returns before committing to this.

Demonstration days with local groups

You may find that local disability groups and charities hold demonstration days. These are a good way to try equipment and technology as there are usually experts there to answer your questions.

Equipment Demonstration Centres

There are many centres across England and Wales where trained staff can show you a range of equipment and technology for your needs.

Find your nearest centre (livingmadeeasy.org.uk)

Workshops and training

Some specialist charities offer workshops and training on assistive technology. For example, Everyone Can is based in Manchester but supports people across the UK.

Trade shows

There are many trade shows you can attend across England and Wales. Suppliers showcase their latest technology, products and support services.

Trade shows include:

Contact your local disability charity to see if they run day trips.

Buying and returning products

Before buying equipment or assistive technology, check the returns policy. Some retailers allow 14 days for you to change your mind and return the product. Others allow 30 days.

If you buy online, by mail order or phone, you can change your mind within 14 days of buying.

Warning Some products cannot be returned

You cannot return a product that has been customised for you or a product that cannot be resold for hygiene reasons.

If you are paying for products designed or adapted for disability, you might be entitled to VAT relief (GOV.UK).

Visit Which? to make sure you know your consumer rights

Last reviewed by Scope on: 17/01/2020

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