There is a wide range of equipment and technology available that you can use in the home or when you are out and about to make life easier and help you keep safe and independent. This includes helping you move around the home, get in and out of the bath or help you contact someone for support.
Please note – if there are any changes in your health which are not an emergency you should Get medical help – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
There are a number of ways you can find out about equipment that could help you.
Living Made Easy website
The Living Made Easy site is an impartial advice and information website about daily living equipment and other aspects of independent living. It has been developed by a national charity with 50 years of experience in providing advice about independent living for disabled adults and children, older people, their carers and families.
There is a dedicated self-assessment part of the website. This will ask a series of questions about how you are managing daily living tasks and will suggest some items of equipment that you can buy to meet your needs based on your answers.
Somerset Independent Living Centres
Our centres in Wellington and Shepton Mallet are open for appointment only bookings where you can talk to our Social Care Occupational Therapy led team and try out equipment and technology to make daily living easier.
We offer free impartial information and advice and encourage people to attend who may need advice about living independently. This could include equipment in the bathroom, kitchen or moving around, for example. We are also able to demonstrate technology to help support people with their caring role.
Please note – we are unable to provide equipment for anyone who has had recent surgery or trauma and is expected to recover, such as hip or knee replacement or broken bones. The hospital you attended should be able to either loan equipment they recommend, or advise you where to borrow or purchase the equipment – also see the section Buying or Borrowing Equipment, below.
We offer free practical advice, which is why you can trust us to guide you through the options to suit you.
Please see the following 2-minute videos which will show you what to expect when you visit.
Shepton Mallet Independent Living Centre
Wellington Independent Living Centre
You can download an A4 poster about the SILC (Somerset Independent Living Centres) Service. Please feel free to share it with others.
Contact us to make your free appointment – email email@example.com or call 0300 123 2224.
Our phone lines are open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired you can contact us using SMS text 07862 122246
We will give you full directions with your appointment confirmation and provide details of accessible community transport options to help you get to the appointment if you need it.
Independent Living Centre Wellington
17 Knights Road
Chelston Business Park
Independent Living Centre Shepton Mallet
Cannards Grave Road
Sometimes, someone from social care may need to come and see you at home to make sure we give you the best advice. This could include advice about equipment and alterations to your home to help you or your carer manage more easily. For example, a hoist and sling or minor works such as stair rails. We may be able to provide them free of charge through our Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service.
You may need major alterations to your home, such as putting in a stair-lift or wet-floor shower. If this is the case, we may contact your housing provider about this, or ask for you to be considered for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). You will be asked for information about your finances and you may have to pay towards the cost of the work. Adaptations that can be considered for a Disabled Facilities Grant include:
- Widening doorways or improving layout for wheelchairs
- Bathroom adaptations
- Lifts – stairlifts or through-floor lifts
- Kitchen adaptations
Community Alarm Services or Lifelines
There are other ways you can stay safe and independent at home. Community alarm services, or Lifelines, are low-cost pendant alarm services for anyone who needs support at home or may be at risk of falling. They can offer a wide range of alarms to suit every individual and the highly trained support team will help you to find the right alarm for you.
When the alarm button is pressed, an alert is directed to a call centre that will respond instantly. The centre can speak to you even if you are not near the phone, but this will only happen when the button is pressed. Additional alerts can be added to the system, including falls alarms, smoke alarms, door exits sensors and heat alarms. In some areas there is also a 24-hour lifeline response service that will attend your home if you need help.
Carer pagers are also available and can alert a family member or friend of a sensor being triggered. This can be particularly helpful and reassuring if you have returned home after being in hospital.
Lifeline contact information
There are many other products available to support people to live as independently as possible at home. These products are often known as Assistive Technology.
Technology can remind and inform people and their carers about things that need to be done around the home, such as taking medicines on time. It can alert a family member or carer that a person has got out of bed at night and needs assistance. Or it can alert a monitoring centre that something has happened to ensure people get the help they need.
To find out how technology can help you at home or while out and about, make an appointment to visit our Independent Living Centres or visit the HFT Virtual Smarthouse website.
Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service
The Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service provides a range of equipment to help you live independently, whether it’s equipment for your home, or things to help you while out and about. Somerset residents can borrow equipment as long as needed from this service, which includes delivery and fitting, servicing, collection and recycling.
More information about wheelchairs can be found here: Somerset Wheelchair Service
In most instances, to access equipment or wheelchairs you will need to be assessed by a health or social care professional. You can contact us to ask about or request an assessment.
Phone 0300 123 2224 or visit our Care and Support Assessment webpage for more information.
The Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service is provided on behalf of Somerset Council and NHS Somerset by Medequip, supported by AJM Healthcare.
If you have loaned equipment that you no longer need, Medequip can arrange a free of charge collection to recycle and help others in need.
To return your equipment, please phone 01823 211699 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also return equipment yourself to:
Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service
Unit 1 The Monarch Centre, Venture Way
Priorswood Industrial Estate
Opening Hours: 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday
For more information, please visit www.medequip-uk.com/contact/taunton
If you want to access equipment, but have not been assessed by a professional
For online advice, please visit medequip-somerset.livingmadeeasy.org.uk. This is an online self-assessment tool, giving you free impartial advice about all types of equipment, to make daily living easier.
For self-funded mobility and disability equipment options please visit www.manageathome.co.uk – Your Online Medequip Retail Store.
For self-funded telecare options please visit www.medequip-connect.com.
Buying or borrowing equipment
You can buy some equipment that might help you from local shops that specialise in disability equipment. There are also some local voluntary organisations and private providers that sell equipment. The Somerset Community Connect website gives lots of information about equipment available locally.
Equipment for short-term loan is available through the British Red Cross, and is ideal if you need some equipment temporarily, for example, to try something out before you buy it. You can find out more by phoning 01823 273746, or visit their website.
Donating equipment to charity
Equipment which we no longer use due to changes to how we support people, is offered to charitable organisations who use these items in other countries.
Any equipment which we collect that cannot be reused or recycled is checked by us and then either scrapped, recycled or disposed of.