Deciding About Special Equipment

Even after rehabilitation, some stroke survivors have trouble walking, balancing, or performing certain activities of daily living. Special equipment can sometimes help. Here are some examples:


Many people who have had strokes use a cane when walking. For people with balancing problems, special canes with three or four “feet” are available.


A walker provides more support than a cane. Several designs are available for people who can use only one hand and for those who have different problems with walking or balance.


Ankle-Foot Orthotic Devices, or braces, help a person walk by keeping the ankle and foot in the correct position and providing support for the knee.


Your loved one might need a wheelchair. Wheelchairs come in many different designs. They can be customized to fit the user’s needs and abilities. Find out which features are most important for your loved one’s specific needs.

Daily-Living Aids

Daily-living aids provide assistance with normal activities like bathing, dressing, and eating. Some are safety devices such as grab bars and nonskid tub and floor mats. Others make it easier to do things with one hand. Examples are Velcro fasteners on clothes and placemats that won’t slide on tables.

Communication Aids

These range from small computers to homemade communication boards. You, your loved one, and the rehabilitation program staff should decide together what special equipment is needed. Program staff can help in making the best choices. Medicare or health insurance will often help pay for the equipment.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Adapted from Recovering After a Stroke, AHCPR Publication No. 95-0664, prepared by the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research.

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