What is adaptive equipment and assist devices

Items and modifications to help people with disabilities to perform common tasks and activities of daily living (ADLs). The tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, and dyskinesia of Parkinson’s disease can make everyday tasks, from holding and dialing a telephone to opening doorknobs and typing on a computer, difficult. There are many aids available to customize assistance to meet a person’s specific needs. These include

• Mobility aids such as walking sticks, walkers, and wheelchairs

• Devices to hold books and papers in place to make reading and writing easier

• Replacement of buttons with hook-and-loop fasteners

• Shoehorns and zipper pulls

• Large button telephones

• Lever-style light switches, sound- or touch-activated lighting and appliances

• Lever-style door handles to replace conventional doorknobs

• Bed rails and trapeze

• Railings in bathrooms, wide-door showers with no sill

• Broad-handle eating and cooking utensils

Medicare and Medicaid provide limited coverage for certain adaptive equipment such as mobility aids, and private insurance might provide additional coverage. An occupational therapist can recommend appropriate aids and devices as well as evaluate the home environment and make suggestions for improving ease of access, preventing falls, and ensuring personal safety.