Living with a disability

Preparing for possible frailty or disability

Some physical conditions are more likely to occur in older people, but illness and disability are not inevitable in old age. Some older people do however need support in older age and planning ahead for frailty or disability will make it easier to adapt as changes are needed. Planning may include practical measures such as modifications to the home or home support arrangements.

Meeting changing health needs includes being aware of changes to our body and its ability to cope. Adapting to increasing frailty or disability also means anticipating the emotional aspects of coping. This can include overcoming fear, regaining life skills, re-establishing community contact and regenerating self-esteem.

The New Zealand Disability Strategy was launched on 29 November 2016. it is the result of a year ling revision process involving public consultation and extensive involvement by disabled people, their families, whānau and supporters. There are a range of pdf, word, large print audio or NZ sign language versions on the The Office for Disability Issues website

Websites of interest

  • is for anyone looking for information, advice, support or equipment relating to disability in New Zealand
  • Enable New Zealand is a resource centre for people with disabilities, their families, disability support organisations and health professionals Enable aims to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through by providing access to information, housing alterations and vehicle modifications, research and funding of equipment, and purchase.
    Some services are available nationally while other services are provided regionally as contracted by the Ministry of Health, or ACC.
  • The Health Research Council offers links to sites around the world and New Zealand relating to health.
  • Disabled Persons International is a human rights organisation committed to the protection of the rights of people with disabilities.
  • Permobil is an online website giving access to disability products.
  • The Aircycle is an inflatable exerciser that enables you to easily and gently exercise your feet, legs, and hands from a sitting position without weight-bearing activity. It is designed for those with restricted mobility and offers an easy and convenient way to improve circulation, leg strength, joint flexibility and control pain.
  • Independent Living Service is a not-for-profit community focused organisation committed to meeting the needs of disabled people, older persons and their families/whanau. The Independent Living Service is Auckland's largest disability information and advisory Centre and product showroom. A wide range of disability products, equipment and aids for daily living are also available in our online store or for hire.
  • Care Craft is a New Zealand factory based in Levin that designs and builds products
    specifically to help the elderly or disabled maintain their independence and quality of life.
    Products include support rails (aluminium or stainless steel both non-slip powder coated with anti-bacterial) and mobility and occupational aids. They will also custom design or manufacture mobility and independence aids.
    For more information on their products visit their website
  • Easy Climber is an American Company that makes stair lifts, that includes on their website an informative factsheet on how to choose a stair lift.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Home Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities is an American site that has some good information and suggestions for ensuring your new home is accessible
  • Fire safety and disabilities guide - this American guide has some useful suggestions for ensuring your safety in from fire
  • Depression and Disability: a practical guide - this guide put out by the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health
  • How to stay physically active - ageing well with a physical disability Factsheet
  • Mycare is a website to help you find workers to support you staying at home.
  • Auckland Health Services provides a Medical Equipment Hire service.

Find your nearest Age Concern