Stillwater News Press

Health & Environment

March 15, 2014

Live Well 03-16-14

Assistive tech aid available

Do you, or someone you know, need to purchase assistive technology or medical equipment because of an injury or newly acquired medical condition?

Oklahoma ABLE Tech is reaching out to Oklahomans with a disability to inform them of a special federally funded program called the Alternative Financing Program. The program provides low-interest bank loans to purchase needed assistive technology or other medical equipment and adapted vehicles or home modifications.

“The program offers a unique opportunity for individuals who otherwise may not be able to afford the technology or equipment they need,” said Shelley Gladden, Oklahoma ABLE Tech Loan Coordinator.

Oklahoma ABLE Tech, in partnership with the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation and BancFirst of Stillwater, has assisted more than 100 Oklahoma residents with the purchase of needed AT totaling more than $460,000 this past year.

“Most of these individuals would not have qualified for a bank loan due to previous bankruptcy, lack of collateral, or poor income-to-debt ratio; but with OkAT’s guaranty and assistance, they were able to purchase needed AT, with affordable monthly payments, and maintain greater independence in their community,” said Gladden.

One Oklahoman, whom the program assisted, is a resident with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. After being diagnosed with ALS, he soon realized his need for specialized AT which caused a financial burden for him and his family. Through the program, he was able to apply for and finance a wheelchair accessible van.

The purchase of the vehicle has helped him to live and work more independently.

“Nothing in life prepares a person for suddenly dealing with a newly acquired disease that requires specialized equipment, and for the cost of each piece,” he said. “The purchase of the van allows me greater freedom of movement as well as the ability to continue to work and travel with my family.”

Others, who have benefited from this valuable program, have purchased hearing aids, vision equipment or modified a bathroom to make it more accessible to a wheelchair user.

The program is available to all Oklahoma residents with a disability or those that care for a dependent with a disability, who meet the qualifying terms and repayment obligations. For more information, contact Shelley Gladden with Oklahoma ABLE Tech at 405-744-4254 or visit www.okabletech.okstate.edu.

Linda Jaco is director of sponsored programs for the Oklahoma State University Department of Wellness.

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