The social model of disability came about during the 1980s. This model reacted against the dominant medical model of disability by saying that disability is a consequence of environmental, social and attitudinal barriers that prevent people with impairments for maximum participation in society. It is best summarised in the definition of disability from the Disabled Peoples’ International. “The loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the normal life of the community on an equal level with others, due to physical or social barriers.” i.e. buildings that do not have wheelchair ramps. This change of thinking and perceiving disability had flow on effects to many areas and benefited not just people with disabilities, but the Elderly too.
As a result of this way of thinking, assistive devices and technologies have advanced rapidly in the last few decades. We may not have robots doing everything for us however the technologies we do have have revolutionised how people can live and have allowed many people to live independently for longer. You can pretty much find an assistive device or technology for anything nowadays, from help with mobility, specially designed clothing, apps that you can download that can help with people who suffer from dementia, specially designed kitchen and bathroom items, even flooring that can help reduce falls.
Assistive technologies and devices can improve the quality of life for many people, if assistive devices are used properly then individuals or even facilities can save money. Caregivers can also benefit tremendously for the help assistive technologies can give.
Although people can benefit greatly from assistive technologies and devices, there is still a large amount of stigma around using assistive technologies as many feel like they are almost beacons letting everyone around them know that they have a disability or they need help – which brings about other negative societal connotations
There are ways to combat this, the first being to emphasize the benefits of assistive devices to those that need them. One of the most important things to emphasize about assistive devices is that they are made to aid in areas where the body is having difficulty. This is in contrast to the societal perception that your limitation is because of the device.
It is very important to get the right item for you, so don’t be afraid to shop around and test things out. One of the main problems people do have with their assistive devices is that it doesn’t work for them how they wanted it to. Many supplies have a physical showroom so you can test things out. Other’s may offer a free sample or trial of a product, however all will have great knowledge and advice for you so don’t be afraid to ask.
Take a look at some of the assistive devices here on Eldernet.
Over the next month I will be highlighting some cool equipment that could help you in your everyday life! If you have any requests for this months topic, or any other requests please comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org