There’s a wide range of equipment and technology that can improve mobility and help manage ALS symptoms as the disease progresses. These devices can make it easier for ALS patients to get around their homes, speak, and perform day-to-day tasks like bathing and going to doctor’s appointments, which makes life easier for both the patient and their caregiver.
Because every ALS patient is a little different, it’s hard to say exactly when each patient will need each assistive device, but we recommend installing a wheelchair ramp and purchasing an SGD (Speech Generating Device) device before either is necessary. Getting used to this equipment and incorporating it into your daily routine can be challenging, which means you should give yourself time to adjust to these additions to your home and daily life.
If you are having difficulty obtaining many of these devices, financially or otherwise, please contact your local Care Services Manager. We can help you find the right retailers or professionals, or you may be able to take advantage of our Equipment Loan Program.
When an ALS patient can no longer walk, a power wheelchair can restore a great deal of mobility. Medicare and some insurance policies provide coverage for ALS patients who need power wheelchairs. If you need more assistance with sourcing your power wheelchair, please contact your local chapter.
Once navigating the home becomes difficult, wheelchair ramps are often a necessary home modification. Wheelchair ramps can range from inexpensive portable ramps to a complete remodel of entryways, patios, and doors. Federal law requires that apartment buildings and other multi-unit homes are constructed with basic accessibility in mind, but cramped spaces and other barriers may still exist. For more information about making your home more accessible, please contact your local chapter.
When ALS begins to affect the muscles that control breathing, respiratory assistance will become necessary. There are a number of technologies, including breathing pacemakers, that can help ALS patients breathe. Both surgical and non-invasive respiratory aids are available, and your physician can help you determine which is best for you. For more information on respiratory aids, please contact your local chapter.