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Assistive technology (AT) is any product, program, or system that maintains or improves your capabilities. Using assistive products helps you tackle everyday activities.
AT includes simple things, like laundry trolleys and tap turners, as well as more complex things like wheelchairs or software.
Simple, low risk assistive products can be found online and in mainstream shops.
For AT suggestions you can take the LiveUp quiz. All answers you provide are confidential and any information you receive is free. You'll find helpful suggestions for each area of the home and links to where you can buy them if you think they could help you.
If you’re unsure whether you need some simple AT, read the Making Choices, Finding Solutions booklet. You’ll find a section for each area of the home with helpful questions to consider. These questions will help you understand whether AT can help you. If you know which activities you’d like help with, on page 10 you’ll find the Everyday activities checklist. Tick the tasks you’d like to make easier. Then head to the corresponding section to find out which products can help you and how. You’ll also find product suggestions and where to buy them.
For more complex needs, finding the best assistive product can be a challenge. Your needs, where you live, work and play, and your personal goals are all important factors. For help, you could seek advice from:
Health professionals. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and speech pathologists can help you choose assistive products.
Specialist centres. Look for organisations that offer information on specific problems, like hearing for example. They have advice on the assistive products that could help you.
Advisory centres. Advisory centres used to be Independent Living Centres. These organisations provide independent advice on assistive products. Staff often have expert assistive product knowledge. They can offer face-to-face, online, and telephone advice.
Local community health networks. You may find a health network in your local government area. This network includes community health services, primary health care, and aged care assessment services. These services may be able to provide you with advice on assistive products.
There are funding options that could help you access assistive products. It is important to know that this funding is specific to your individual situation. Sometimes there may not be any formal options for you.
Some organisations that may provide financial help for assistive products include:
My Aged Care. Depending on your needs, assistive products can be provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or with other services as part of a Home Care Package.
Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA). If you are a DVA card holder, The Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) can supply products to improve your quality of life. See a health professional for further information.
Assistive Technology Programs. States and territories provide a large range of assistive product programs. Each state and territory has a government program.
Medicare. See your GP for guidance as you may be eligible for a referral or disability service.
Private health insurance. Depending on your provider, you may be able to apply for rebates towards health aids and appliances.
Allied health professionals are university qualified health practitioners. They specialise in preventing, diagnosing, and treating a range of conditions.
Your doctor or case manager can help you decide if an allied health service is right for you. Some of the most common allied health professionals include:
Allied health services are available in your community. They can be found in many places including:
Access to these services may be supported through government programs or other sources of funding. It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about your healthcare needs. They may be able to suggest an allied health professional who could help you.
Almost all allied health practitioners are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Occupational therapists focus on improving your physical health so you can take part in the activities you enjoy. These activities include:
They can suggest solutions to support your independence and prescribe assistive products.
To find a registered occupational therapist in your local area, visit the following websites:
Alternatively, you could seek advice from your GP or local medical centre.
Physiotherapists are experts in the structure and movement of the human body. They support people of all ages and treat a broad range of health conditions. Physiotherapists can help you:
To find a registered physiotherapist in your local area, visit the following websites:
Alternatively, you could seek advice from your GP or local medical centre.
If you are eligible, you could receive government-subsidised help at home through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or a Home Care Package. The services you receive will depend on your situation and needs. There are a range of aged care services that can help you live independently.
Services include food preparation, help with showering or dressing, help managing medications, and help to maintain your mobility. Some help keep you safe at home such as cleaning, home maintenance, and suggesting assistive products. Others enable you to interact with your community such as transport to appointments or activities, in-home social calls, and group activities.
An assessment through My Aged Care will determine which of these services you are eligible to receive. To find out which program you are eligible for, you need to apply for an assessment. You can apply online or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. If you already receive services, please contact your provider.
For more information, visit the My Aged Care website.
If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for support at home through the Veterans Home Care Program.
For more information visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) offer free, independent, and confidential information to older people. They help you understand and exercise your aged care rights, seek aged care services, and find solutions to issues you may be experiencing with your aged care provider.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) have individual federations for each state or territory. They provide useful information, resources, and programs to support older people. Whether you’re looking for help navigating the aged care system or looking to improve health and fitness, they are there to help you.
For contact details of your state or territory, go to the COTA website.
My Aged Care can help you understand, access, and navigate the aged care system. They can also help you find out what aged care services may be available to you. You can access My Aged Care online, on the phone, or in person.
You can apply for aged care services through My Aged Care. It is important to know if you have registered or if you are new to My Aged Care. To apply for aged care services:
If you already receive aged care services but your needs have changed, you may be eligible for reassessment. If your circumstances have changed since your last assessment:
Once you have completed your My Aged Care assessment, there are two ways you can connect with an aged care service provider.
1. Your assessor can refer you.
With your consent, your assessor can send a referral on your behalf to a relevant service provider to let them know you are a new client seeking support. The provider will contact you to organise their service.
2. You can refer yourself.
You can request that your assessor provide you with a referral code instead of a direct referral. You can then choose and contact an aged care service provider to organise your services. Your assessor can give you a referral code for each service you’re eligible for.
A referral code is your unique reference number for receiving services. This information will be in your home support plan. If you lose your code, you can log in to your My Aged Care Online Account to see it.
Contacting or being referred to providers doesn’t mean you have agreed to their services. You can talk with them, ask questions about their fees and your contribution, and make sure you’re comfortable accepting their services.
If you are a carer, it’s important to look after your own health and wellbeing. Carer Gateway is an Australian government program providing free services and support for carers. They provide carer specific face-to-face, phone, and online services
and support to help you in your caring role. These services include:
If you care for a family member or a friend with a disability, a medical condition, mental illness, or who is frail due to age, then Carer Gateway can help you.
Some states and territories offer additional support for carers. For more information, visit the Services Australia website to find out more about the resources available.
There are a range of aged care services available if you are a veteran or a war widow/widower. Whether you need help at home, health care, counselling, or other types of support, there are different types of care to suit your needs and situation.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) website has a range of resources to help veterans and their families learn more about the services available.
DVA also provides services if you have a Veteran Gold or White Card. They include:
Open Arms is a veterans and families counselling service that provides private and confidential counselling to anyone who has served in the ADF, as well as their partners and families. The 24Hr hotline can be reached on 1800 011 046 or you can find more information on the Open Arms website.
FriendLine can support anyone feeling lonely, if you need to reconnect, or if you just want a chat. You can call them 7 days a week on 1800 424 287 or visit the FriendLine website to chat online with one of their trained volunteers. All conversations with FriendLine are anonymous and confidential.
Feeling lonely or isolated for a long time or for no obvious reason could be a sign of depression. Talk to your doctor, a counsellor, or good friends and family.
Beyond Blue also provides information and support to help everyone in Australia. Mental health information is available for men, women, older people, cultural and linguistically diverse people, First Nations people, and LGBTQIA+ people. Go to the Beyond Blue website or you can reach the 24Hr hotline on 1300 22 4636.
5. Speak to the Lifeline crisis supporter in your language.
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