At Update, the top two things people come to us about are welfare benefits, and aids and equipment.
We can see why people need info and advice in regard to benefits, as welfare reform and even just finding your way through the system can be a complex journey.
In terms of disability aids, equipment and adaptations, there is info out there. Our website for instance has a section highlighting equipment suppliers, how to go about home adaptations and details for local sources of advice, as well as factsheets etc.
However there does seem to be some difficulty for people in finding the info they need on this topic. In response to this, a great example of people coming together online to share info, stories, help, suggestions and advice can be found at the bespoken website.
Maybe we need more of this type of activity, enabling and empowering people to inform and help each other?
Online support may only be part of the answer. What do people who are not online do when they need info on this subject? Sometimes it just takes something very small to make a difference to someone’s quality of life – like a client who called our helpline who just wanted to go and have a look at a collapsible walking stick before he spent some of his pension on it.
We were able to point him in the direction of a local equipment supplier where he could go along and test out the equipment he wanted to buy before purchasing it, to make sure it was right for him.
We’ve also had clients who weren’t aware that they can request a Social Work assessment with an Occupational Therapist, who can then advise them on aids, equipment and adaptations available to them. Talking something through ‘in person’ on the phone or face to face, is often what’s needed to really put the ‘person’ at the ‘centre’ of a person-centred service.
We need to ensure that people can find the info they want on this topic, when they need it, and that the info can be provided for them in the way they want – online, in print, in different formats, etc; and that people can take advantage of opportunities to view and test equipment that they may end up living with for many years.
We also have to make sure that more people know about the great stuff that’s out there; as highlighted, sometimes it can be relatively small things that can have a big impact on people’s day to day lives. If you know of any interesting stuff that’s happening on this topic, please do drop us a line! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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