Independent Living

Assistive technology for independent living can be anything from communication to vision to organization and beyond. It is any device or service that allows an individual with disabilities the freedom to function in living environments away from or with limited supported care. This section will focus on AT devices and services that help individuals operate their home environment effectively for various needs. AAC  and auditory devices are excluded since they have been discussed in previous sections.

Low-tech

Specialized utensils and dishes can make eating easier for those who have mobility limitations. Ramps and custom tables and counters also offer help in mobility limitations. Canes and extension grabbers/reachers are also low-tech options to help around the house/apartment. Graphic organizers on paper or white boards can help with cleaning, hygiene, budgets and shopping lists.

Medium & High-tech

Many options are available in these areas to help with independent living. Options range from automated systems that control temperature, lights and security to voice or gesture command devices to help with information, shopping, or other household items or tasks. Here are some popular items that I personally recommend:

  1. Amazon Echo. The Amazon Echo works with a person’s Internet connection and voice to perform a variety of functions. A person can shop for almost anything using Amazon’s e-commerce shop. Previously bought items can be re-ordered with ease. Amazon Echo can also give weather and news updates, perform internet searches, and control household lights and appliances with compatible devices or adapters.
  2. Philips Hue lights. Philips Hue light bulbs can be controlled via IOS and Android apps, and through voice control by Amazon Echo. The light bulbs can change color for individuals who may be sensitive to bright white light.
  3. Tablets. Tablets come from various manufacturers and with various operating systems. iPads are popular and come with IOS and the Apple App Store, which contains the greatest number of apps for assistive technology purposes. However, iPads are expensive. Android OS tablets range in price and apps are more limited. Amazon Fire tablets are good choices. They come in a variety of sizes and price points, run off of Android OS, and work with Android and Amazon app stores.

Resources

For more information on devices and purposes, visit these sites:

Maryland Assistive Technology Connection Hub

Independent Living Aids, LLC

International Telecommunication Union

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