On this page we’ve included details and images of products designed and championed by Arthr, a social venture powered by Versus Arthritis. Arthr’s products are all co-created and tested with people who have a first-hand understanding of the day-to-day challenges of living with arthritis. All profits are invested back into developing better products for people with arthritis and into the services, support and research of Versus Arthritis.
Other products and brands mentioned are from suggestions by people with arthritis. We do not receive money or sponsorship by featuring them. There are similar products produced by other brands, and we’d suggest looking around to see what’s available. If you’re able to, ask for advice from an occupational therapist and try out any products before you buy. We cannot be held liable if any product featured in our content is unsuitable for you.
You may be able to get gadgets and equipment from your local authority.
Your local council may call equipment or modifications to your home ‘aids and adaptations’ or ‘community equipment’.
An aid is any equipment that can help you manage your everyday tasks. This could be:
- an easy-to-use electric can opener
- a mattress topper to help you sleep
- kettle tippers that make it easier to pour water.
Adaptations are physical changes, or home modifications, that can be made to help you get around your home. This could include:
- grab rails
- a level access shower
- a ramp
- a stairlift.
Local authorities have a duty to care for the people who live in their area. They should be able to tell you which types of care you are eligible for, and whether you will have to pay for this care or not.
Your local authority may also be able to arrange for you to have support in the home and advise you on local schemes and services that can help.
Help for equipment in England
In England, local authorities have to provide aids and home adaptations, up to the value of £1,000, to anyone who can’t perform two acts of daily living, like eating, washing or going to the toilet.
If there are things you struggle to do at home and this impacts on your quality of life, ask your local council for a free needs assessment. Everybody is entitled to one, and you could be eligible for free equipment.
You can find your local authority’s home adaptations service by entering your postcode at this website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-home-equipment-for-disabled.
Help for equipment in devolved nations
For information on the support available for aids and adaptations in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland visit the following websites:
- Northern Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/equipment-use-about-home
- Wales: https://www.gov.uk/apply-home-equipment-for-disabled
- Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/policies/independent-living/housing-adaptations/
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG)
If you need to make adaptations to your home, you may be able to access financial assistance from your local authority. The Disabled Facilities Grant is designed to help people living with disabilities to meet the cost of making major adaptations to their home.
Eligibility for a Disabled Facilities Grant differs from eligibility for aids and adaptations in two important ways:
- The legal definition of ‘disability’ is different.
- The DFG is means tested, whereas eligibility for community equipment isn’t.
If you live in England or Wales you can apply for a disabled facilities grant with your local authority by entering your postcode at this website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-disabled-facilities-grant
If you live in Northern Ireland you should contact your local Health and Social Services Trust. You can find out more on this website: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/disabled-facilities-grants-0
Disabled facilities grants aren’t available in Scotland.
Make sure you apply for the grant before you start any work on your home, or your application could be rejected.
To find out more about disabled facilities grants see our factsheet Know your rights: Disabled Facilities Grants (PDF, 105 KB).
Getting advice from a professional
It’s a good idea to speak to an occupational therapist about your daily needs and the equipment available. You can ask your doctor to refer you to one or you can refer yourself.
An occupational therapist will be able to give you advice on the best equipment available. They can also give you tips on ways of pacing yourself and changing the way you do tasks to make them easier.
Their advice should help you manage fatigue, reduce your pain and can help you keep your independence.
New gadgets can make daily tasks easier on your joints. But stopping regular movements, no matter how small, could create stiffness and loss of movement. So, make sure you’re still exercising your joints in other ways to keep them strong and mobile.
For more information on staying active visit our exercise pages.
Purchasing new equipment
If you’re not eligible for support, or prefer to purchase your own products, you’ll be able to get many of the gadgets mentioned here online, as well as in supermarkets and local hardware stores.
Make sure you compare prices at a few different places before you buy anything. Where possible, try out the equipment before buying it, to make sure that it’s right for you. If you can’t do this in store, you can try out items and get expert advice at demonstration centres. These can be found in Disabled Living Centres, social services centres, and occupational therapy departments. Visit Living Made Easy for information on your nearest centre.
Most of the staff at Disabled Living Centres are occupational therapists or physiotherapists, who can give impartial advice. It can be a good idea to go with a friend or relative to help you decide on the best equipment for your needs.
AskSARA gives helpful advice on gadgets and equipment to make everyday activities easier. The website will ask you to select the topic you’re interested in and answer a few questions before giving a personalised report full of useful advice and products that may help you.
Arthr is a social venture powered by Versus Arthritis. They design and develop great products to help people with arthritis live to the full. Arthr’s products are all co-created and tested with people who have a first-hand understanding of the day-to-day challenges of living with arthritis.
Arthr also champion arthritis-friendly products that are already on the market, these are included in their ‘Loved By Arthr’ product range, and just like their original products, they go through a rigorous testing process.
All of Arthr’s profits are invested back into developing better products for people with arthritis and into the services, support and research of Versus Arthritis.
Other organisations that can help
There are many organisations and charities that will be able to offer advice and support for people wanting to get started with new equipment.
The British Red Cross runs an equipment loan service for wheelchairs and other specialist equipment, and Age UK helps with shopping and housework in some areas.
Age UK also offers handyperson services for help with gardening and small household jobs, such as changing the batteries on smoke alarms. Alternatively, your local authority is likely to be able to recommend a reliable handyperson service.
There are also charities and organisations that can adapt existing items in your home or even create new equipment tailored to your specific needs. While many places may charge a fee, there are charities which provide their services for free. Have a look at a charity called Remap, who provide custom made equipment for people with disabilities. Their services are also completely free.
Home improvement agencies are local not-for-profit organisations that can help people adapt their homes. You can use the findmyhia.org.uk webpage to find a home improvement agency in your area.
Your local fire service is likely to offer free safety checks for your home. They can test, fit and relocate smoke alarms as well as provide new batteries – all free of charge. They can also help you work out an escape route and will check for any potential trip and fire hazards.
These and other voluntary organisations which can help are listed in the ‘Related organisations’ section of this webpage. You may also find others online or in your phonebook. You can also ask your local authority, Social Services department or the Citizens Advice Bureau.