PIAT (Pennsylvania Initiative on Assistive Technology) is a wonderful resource that helps older adults and persons with disabilities try out and obtain needed assistive technology.
Assistive technology can seem like a big, imposing phrase, but really it’s anything that helps those with disabilities access the world around them. Grab bars, walkers, and wheelchairs are considered assistive technology. Also considered assistive technology are computer programs that type as people talk, the new voice-enabled speakers like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, and closed captioning for your television.
Recently while visiting a JEVS at Home participant in her home, I noticed that she was using a rolling desk chair to navigate her home. She had recently returned from a skilled nursing facility stay and I was surprised that she hadn’t been ordered a walker for in-home use. Turns out the social worker who planned her discharge had ordered a wheelchair, but as some of you might have experienced yourselves, her insurance would only pay for a walker or a wheelchair, not both. The social worker ordered the more sophisticated piece of equipment because that made the most sense; however, it left our participant having to get around her home in a rolling desk chair.
In situations like this, it may seem like the only option would be to make do or pay for needed equipment out of pocket; however, through the PIAT program, participants have access to educational programming on assistive devices, a loan program that allows for people to try devices before they buy, classified listings for people looking to sell assistive devices, and even a recycling program that allows people to donate unused equipment to those who aren’t able to pay for it (like our participant who needed a walker). PIAT has many more services and centers throughout the state. Please take the time to give them a call at 1-800-204-PIAT (7428) to learn how they may be able to help you!