Picking equipment for dementia care - what do you need to think about?

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of products and equipment a person with dementia might need? Before you buy anything, consider the questions below

1. Is it value for money?

Dementia is a progressive illness and, although many people progress slowly through the different stages of the dementia journey it can be difficult to predict exactly how long it might be before your loved one deteriorates a little more…and no longer has much need for an outdoor mobility walker or special chair. Getting best value for these items is key.

2. Is it easy to operate?

Products designed for people with dementia should be very straightforward to use. For example, simple phones, remote controls, radios and CD players are widely available and often inexpensive, but if you’re looking for equipment which isn’t specifically designed with them in mind – such as an electric wheelchair – this might prove more challenging. Make sure you get a detailed demonstration (or try it yourself) before you buy.

3. Is it safe?

Whilst the vast majority of equipment available for dementia care has been put through rigorous safety checks, it’s always worth making sure that it has a CE kitemark (which means it conforms to European safety standards) and/or a BSI mark which means it’s been tested and approved by the British Standards Institution.

4. What if something goes wrong?

Many manufactures of expensiveproducts such as mobility scooters or stair lifts will include a certain amount of free, technical support as part of the product’s guarantee. If they don’t, ask why not? Also check other practical issues such as how easy it is to get spare parts, whether it will need regular servicing and how much this is likely to cost.

5. What do other people say?

Generally speaking, most reviewers are trustworthy and honest so if the vast majority of customer reviews speak highly of the product you’re about to buy, that should be a good sign. If you’re still not convinced though, why not ask other carers for their opinions in our community forums. Or read the reviews by carers of the thousands of products we have brought together at Unforgettable.

Good to know

• Most products designed for people who are chronically sick or disabled (including those with dementia) are exempt from VAT.
• If you’re confused about what you may or may not need, read our product guides.