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Health and Wellbeing

An OT’s List of Useful Assistive Products

Samantha Shann - Occupational therapist

Samantha Shann

10th May, 2024

Elderly lady holding assistive product

As an occupational therapist my main goal is to help people do the day-to-day activities they need to and want to do. Helping people to return or maintain as much functioning as possible and enabling them to do these activities as safely and as pain-free as possible.

Each person is different, and my approach will cater to the individual however, there are also many products out there that can assist. Often referred to as assistive technology, this umbrella term covers a wide range of assistive, rehabilitative, and adaptive devices. In fact, any product that enables individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise not be able to do while simultaneously increasing the individual’s safety and ease while performing the task can be seen as assistive.

Assistive technology is a central component of occupational therapy, and it is essential to assess the situation and choose the right products for the person. Some assistive devices require in-depth assessments and education regarding their correct use; however, others can be purchased more easily by individuals. Below, I share with you some assistive devices and products that can help make day-to-day activities easier, safer, and often less painful.

Rise and Recline Chairs

Rise and recline chairs not only help you sit and relax in a comfortable position; their mechanisms also support you in sitting and standing. Using the motorised functions to guide your movements, allowing the chair to take some of your weight and moving slowly, allows you to move from sitting to standing or vice versa in a controlled, supportive manner. This can help take weight off your knee and hip joints, protect your back, and may mean you require no or less assistance from another person to help you sit or stand.

Rise and Recline Chair


Many times, I hear people say going upstairs gives me exercise, and more often than not, I disagree. Yes, moving about and gentle exercise is good for everyone, and climbing stairs can also be good for you. However, only if you can do so safely and also if you then still have the energy to do the things you enjoy. If climbing the stairs leaves you no energy to make yourself a cup of tea, play with your grandchildren or go into the garden, for example, I would say a stairlift is a good assistive product. Allow the stairlift to do the hard work of climbing/descending the stairs saving your energy to do activities that bring you more satisfaction and joy.

Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds can allow you to rest or sleep in a more comfortable position such as by raising your chest and allowing you to breathe more easily or raising your feet to help reduce oedema. They can also help you adjust your position during the night and can help you to get in and out of bed more easily.


Grabrails situated at the right height can help you maintain your balance as you move around your home. Let's be clear though, grabrails should not be used to pull yourself out of your chair; this can cause damage to your body and joints. However, correctly positioned, they can help you steady yourself as you stand up, get in and out of the shower, up and down a front doorstep, etc.

Grab Rail

Shower Chair

Sitting on a shower chair or stool can help you to wash and care for yourself in a safer way than trying to stand and balance for a long period. Chairs have the added advantage of armrests that may help you sit and stand a little easier.

Bath Lifts

Many of us still enjoy a soak in the bath, and there are many relaxation and pain benefits of a soak; however, as we get older, getting in and out of the bath can become more difficult. Bath lifts can help you get in and out of the bath more safely and with ease. Doing your homework is essential; some allow you to get to the bottom of your bathtub but require good trunk stability and strength, whilst others can support your posture more but not get you as deep into the water.

Pen or Pencil Grip

A pen or pencil grip is a device that slides onto your pen or pencil and provides a thicker surface to hold. This can be useful if you are struggling with fine motor skills. Equally, a small piece of foam around your toothbrush handle can help you hold your toothbrush a little easier.

Warming Plates

If you are finding eating more difficult, especially taking longer to chew or digest food, and then finding your food going cold, a plate warmer may be useful. A warming plate will help keep food at the desired temperature for a longer, allowing you to enjoy your food at your own pace. They often come in a thermal design, thereby working on both hot and cold foods or liquids, and many feature non-slip bases to stop the plate from sliding across the table.

These are just a few examples of assistive products that you can buy and fit around your home, helping to make day-to-day activities a little easier and less painful. However, if you find yourself struggling, a full occupational therapy assessment may be useful as many more products are available to help you following a full assessment. You can always ask your GP for an occupational therapy assessment or find a private provider.

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