Help the WHO determine the top 50 elderly medical supplies

The World Health Organization has set out to find the 50 most important elderly medical supplies for care receivers. And the best part is that you can help build the WHO Priority Assistive Products List (APL). Approximately 1 billion people currently need assistive technologies to improve their quality of life – which has been compromised due to increasing age and/or disability –, a number that will grow to 2 billion by 2050. However, only one in 10 people has access to these technologies because of reasons such as unavailability, unawareness, and high costs.

The goal of the WHO is to make elderly medical supplies available wherever they are most needed. The global survey is available in 50 different languages and “all stakeholders, especially the users/potential users or their family members/organizations are specially encouraged to take part in this survey.” Furthermore, “the will feed into the first ever WHO mandated list of essential assistive technologies to provide a tool for governments… to plan and focus efforts on acquiring the 50 top priority products for their populations.” The survey can be completed online or downloaded and sent to

All told, you can pick 50 elderly medical supplies out of a hundred which are distributed in several different categories and areas. Some examples are listed below:







·         Support when walking.

·         Horizontal padded support to be placed against the upper body next to the armpit.


·         Height-adjustable.

·         Support walking.

·         Semi-circular support for the elbow, a horizontal hand grip, a single shaft, and one tip.

Walking sticks/canes

Walking sticks/canes

·         Adjustable or non-adjustable.

·         Handgrip.

Tripod/quad canes

·         Support when walking.

·         A single shaft that branches into 3 or 4 shafts ending in a slip-proof tip.


Walking frames

·         Maintain stability and balance while walking or standing.


·         Maintain stability and balance while walking or standing.

·         Hand grips.

·         3 or more wheels.



·         Lightweight wheelchairs for sports


·         Battery-powered.

Electrical with postural support

·         Battery-powered with postural support.


·         Three wheels.

Lower limb orthoses

Foot orthoses

·         Insoles and shoe inserts.

·         Pads.

·         Arch supports.

·         Heel cushions.


Diabetes/neuropathy footwear

·         Reduce or distribute load on tissue to prevent injuries in diabetic foot.

Upper limb orthoses

Hand splints

·         Stabilize the wrist and hand to rest joints, tendons, and ligaments, or maintain bone alignment.


Shoulder slings

·         A bandage used to support an injured arm.



Reading glasses/for short distance

·         Help correct close-range vision.

For long distance

·         Focus on objects further away.


Memory aids


·         Portable devices that can record, store, and replay information.


Pill organizers

·         Store scheduled doses of medications.


Hand rails and grab bars

Handrails and support rails

·         Cylindrical bars attached to a wall, floor, or other sturdy structure to provide support.

Grab bars and hand grips

·         Straight or angled bars that support a person when changing position, standing, or walking.


Shower chairs

·         Water-resistant seats or stools that support seating in the shower.

·         May include armrests, height-adjustable legs, and reclining properties.


Bath/shower seats

·         Support sitting during bathing or showering.


Seat raisers

·         Raised toilet seats that can be removed from the WC pan.


·         Chairs with an integrated collection receptacle for toileting away from the bathroom.


Pressure relief mattresses

·         Prevent pressure injuries.

Wheelchair accessories

Pressure relief cushions

·         Provide tissue integrity.

Portable ramps

·         Portable sloping surfaces that bridge a gap between levels.

Sliding boards, sliding mats, and turning sheets

·         Change position or direction of a person sitting or lying.


This is just a sample of all the possible products; it is up to caregivers and care receivers to tell the WHO which ones are the most important. The United Nations health agency hopes to increase access to these and other elderly medical supplies to 1.5 billion people by 2030. In the meantime, many of them are affordably available at Discount Medical Supplies online.

Related: Poor countries in great need of elderly medical supplies