Local Sources

The Health Information desk at the Tompkins County Public Library can assist you in finding information about assistive equipment both on the Internet and in their collection of printed materials.

Also the Please Try It service at FLIC

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How to Find Assistive Equipment for My Needs

1 - In addition to the following, for some basic principles to follow, read Factsheet #3: Choosing Appropriate Assistive Technology, at the web site of the Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) Network.

Sometimes just looking at available equipment will be sufficient. Other times it will be important to talk with medical professionals about your particular needs and the best way to obtain assistive equipment:

  • Your physician, nurse, occupational therapist or physical therapist.
  • Consult with an occupational therapist. (A prescription will be needed from your physcian.)

What exactly is Occupational Therapy?

What are the benefits of Occupational Therapy?

How do I find and pay for Occupational Therapy

2 - Use the Internet to Get Ideas.

ABLEDATA is an excellent resource for identifying assistive devices and other assistive technology for your needs. It is a web site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Click here to visit the Abledata website
for products for your needs

When you click on "Get Product Information" you will be able to search for equipment by product type or in a number of other ways.

Products are grouped into the major categories listed below.

Architectural Elements:
Indoors, Safety and Security, Outdoors, Vertical Lift, Houses, Specialities, Lighting, Signs. Blind and Low Vision Major Categories: Computers, Educational Aids, Health Care, Information Storage, Kitchen Aids, Labeling, Magnification, Office Equipment, Orientation and Mobility, Reading, Recreation, Sensors, Telephones, Time, Tools, Travel, Typing, Weather, Writing (Braille).

Alternative and Augmentative Communication, Headwands, Mouthsticks, Signal Systems, Telephones, Typing, Writing.

Software, Hardware, Computer Accessories. Controls Major Categories: Environmental Controls, Control Switches. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Major Categories: Amplification, Driving, Hearing Aids, Recreational Electronics, Signal Switches, Speech Training, Telephones, Time. Education Major Categories: Classroom, Instructional Materials.

Home Management:
Food Preparation, Housekeeping, Furniture. Orthotics Personal Care Major Categories: Feeding, Carrying, Drinking, Holding, Grooming/Hygiene, Transfer, Toileting, Dispenser Aids, Bathing, Handle Padding, Clothing, Dressing, Health Care, Smoking, Child Care, Reaching.

Prosthetics Recreation:
Crafts, Sewing, Sports, Toys, Music, Gardening. Seating Major Categories: Seating Systems, Cushions, Therapeutic Seats.

Therapeutic Aids Major Categories:
Thermal, Water, Pressure, and Massage Modality; Sensory Integration; Evaluation; Positioning.

Mass Transit Vehicles and Facilities; Vehicles; Vehicle Accessories. Walking Major Categories: Canes, Crutches, Standing.

Wheeled Mobility:
Manual, Sport, and Powered Wheelchairs; Chair Alternatives, Chair Accessories, Carts, Transporters, Stretchers. Workplace Major Categories: Assessment, Work Stations, Training, Office Equipment, Tools.

3 - Companies which Manufacture or Sell Assistive Equipment

Sometimes perusing catalogs or visiting stores which sell assistive devices and other assistive technology can give you ideas for what might be helpful in your situation. You can then purchase desired items from those vendors or, if you wish, you can look to see if the same item is available at a less expensive price at a general retailer.

You might also be able to borrow the same or similar item for a trial period from the Please Try It room at FLIC

You can peruse catalogs

you can pick up either of the first two Assistive Technology Product Catalogs below at FLIC. Many of the companies below will mail you a catalog. You can also click on the links to view their on-line catalogs.

Other catalogs, especially those with products relating to a specific category (e.g., low vision, mobility, home modifications), can be found by using a search engine such as "Google" or consulting with staff at FLIC or the Health Librarian at the Tompkins County Public Library.

This partial list is provided as a courtesy and is not an endorsement of any company.

Independent Living Aids:
(800) 537-2118

Products for Independent Living
(800) 522-6294

Independent living products service.

Sears Home Health Care Catalog
(800) 326-1750

Hear - More:
Products For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
(800) 881-4327; TTY: (800)281-3555

The Alzheimer's Store:
Products for Persons with Dementia

L S and S:
Products for the Visually Impaired and Hard of Hearing
(800) 468-4789

Visit Local Vendors of Assistive Devices You can stop by local stores that carry assistive equipment and speak to staff there to get an idea of what equipment they sell or can order for you.

Where to Find Assistive Equipment

Some pharmacies carry more equipment that others. See the yellow pages for a list of local pharmacies. See also the list below of a select group of pharmacies visited
Med Supply Depot (Guthrie) - 402 Third St. Ithaca, NY 14850. (607) 257-4481
Lincare - 111 S. Fulton St., Ithaca (607) 277-4027
Franciscan Health Support - 1301 Trumansburg Rd., Ithaca. (607) 277-1827
Phipps Health Care-Repair - 1133B Willow St., Horseheads. (607) 739-8616 (Phipps deals in new and used equipment and repair, including stairway lifts, custom vehicle modifications, wheelchair lifts, bathroom aids and other mobility aids.)
In some instances, more commonly used devices and household items, may be purchased for less at general retailers. (Items like magnifiers, large button phones, reachers

Listing of Equipment at Select Stores

In the Fall of 2004, some graduate students in the Occupational Therapy Department at Ithaca College researched what assistive devices were available at that time at some of the stores in Tompkins County. They also included items you might not ordinarily think of as assistive devices which the thought could be useful in assisting people with tasks they found difficult. Click link below to see what the lists they developed:

List of products found at some pharmacy and medical supply stores in Ithaca by the Ithaca College Occupation Therapy Students

Products Available at a Home Improvement Store

Another class project of the Occupational Therapy Students included a review of the entire Home Depot store in Ithaca. The students developed a list of products on sale there that they thought would be most useful to persons with special needs or those seeking to incorporate universal design features into home modification. The list they developed is available to the public in a book kept in the Please Try It Room at FLIC.

4 - Borrow Equipment

You can borrow some types of assistive equipment from the Please Try It room at FLIC and from several other locations in Tompkins County. Some agencies loan equipment for a limited period of time while others loan out equipment for as long as it is needed. A listing of loan closets may be found later in the section titled: Other Resources

5. TRAID-IN Equipment Exchange

The TRAID-IN Equipment Exchange Service is a free service operated by NY State. It connects individuals with disabilities, searching for an affordable means to acquire more costly assistive equipment, with people who have devices they wish to sell or donate. To contact the service, phone 1-800-522-4369. To view a list of what is being offered and sought on-line, click on the following link: TRAID-IN ONLINE

6. You Can Make It Yourself

Sometimes all you need is an idea and you can put something together yourself at less expense than if you purchased it. The following two books can be borrowed from FLIC or the Tompkins County Office for the Aging:
Easy Things to Make…to Make Things Easier, Doreen Greenstein, Brookline Books, 1997. (Inexpensive do-it-yourself home modifications and devices to make life easier for older people and others with physical limitations)

The Do-Able Renewable Home, John Salmen, AARP Publications, 1991. (Making your home fit your needs)

7. Visit the Please Try It room at FLIC

It is the newest resource to help you find assistive equipment for living independently with disabilities or "aging in place" as safely and as long as possible. Learn more by going to The Please Try It resource room at FLIC