The government offers many programs and nonprofit organizations that provide free medical equipment, including shower chairs, electric wheelchairs, walkers, mobility scooters, manual wheelchairs, hospital beds, and canes. The programs you see below are state-level programs, but there are also national programs that operate throughout the country. The following is a list of each organization’s free medical equipment program.
Goodwill Home Medical Equipment
The Goodwill Industries was founded in Boston, MA, in 1902 by the Methodist minister Reverend Edgar J. Helms. More than 157 independent Goodwill organizations in the United States and 12 countries abroad.
The Goodwill Industries, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia and South NJ, serves the Greater Philadelphia area. It provides education, job training, and career services. People can purchase refurbished home medical equipment from Goodwill Home Medical Equipment. Here are some ways Goodwill assists with medical equipment:
- Donate unopened free medical supplies for senior citizens in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
- Donate gently used wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, hospital beds, etc.
- Provide a thorough sanitization and refurbishment of the home medical equipment at their facility in Bellmawr, NJ (Camden County).
- Provide people with durable home medical equipment and supplies that enhance their quality of life.
- Provide affordable equipment without eligibility requirements or prescriptions.
- Promote the connection between those who need it and those who can donate home medical equipment.
Home medical equipment that would otherwise be discarded is given a second life through their reuse practices.
Evangelical in nature, the Salvation Army is an international movement within the universal Christian Church. This movement has its roots in the Bible. Each year, they assist about 23 million Americans in 130 countries worldwide. You can donate goods to The Salvation Army, and they will then sell them in their thrift stores. Proceeds from the sale go toward funding their Adult Rehabilitation Centers, where those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions can find help, hope, and a second chance at life.
Easterseals – Equipment Loan
Founded under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Easter Seals is a not-for-profit health and human services provider. In addition to supporting children and adults with disabilities and special needs, it also assists their families.
Equipment Loan Programs
They accept medical equipment donations through their Equipment Loan Programs and then loan the equipment out free of charge or at a nominal fee to those in need.
In-kind donations involve donating an item or service in place of money, which is a form of charitable giving.
As the only national nonprofit organization fighting ALS on multiple fronts, The ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Association was founded in 1985.
The Association builds hope and enhances the quality of life while aggressively seeking new treatments and cures through global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a network of chapters nationwide, coordinating multidisciplinary care through its licensed clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships.
A good temporary source of equipment is the Equipment Loan Closet, which contains mostly used and donated equipment. The equipment is provided free of charge, and you may use it as long as you like.
MedShare is an international humanitarian aid organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people throughout the world by providing surplus free medical supplies for senior citizens and equipment directly to communities in need.
In the United States, hospitals and manufacturers can donate surplus medical supplies or used equipment to MedShare. Hospitals and clinics overseas can receive the donated material in two different ways:
- Assisting medical mission teams
- Sending direct shipments to 75+ developing nations
Over the past 31 years, Project CURE has provided hospitals and clinics worldwide with lifesaving free medical supplies for senior citizens. More than 135 countries count on them for medical relief donations. They are the world’s largest distributor of donated free medical supplies for senior citizens.
Grants from the US government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and contributions from philanthropic foundations, corporate partners, and individual donors support their programs. Medical equipment and supplies can be donated to Project CURE by individuals who no longer require them.
Advocates for World Health
Free medical supplies for senior citizens can be donated by hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, manufacturers, individuals, and organizations at Advocates for World Health. Donors are valued, and building relationships is a priority for them. AWH distributes products worldwide and generates cash to fund its mission.
Great Lakes Loan Closets
Great Lakes Loan Closets is an online directory of organizations offering medical equipment for a loan at minimal or no cost to Michigan, Wisconsin, Northern Indiana, and Northern Illinois residents.
Medical equipment loaning programs, also known as re-use programs or loan closets, provide home medical equipment to people recovering from illness. Organizations usually obtain their equipment from those who no longer need it in the community. The volunteer organization cleans the equipment, examines its condition, and lends it to those who need it.
Hearing Charities of America (HCOA) – The National Hearing Aid Project
Hearing Charities of America (HCOA) created the National Hearing Aid Project, a model and partnership unlike any other. Providing hearing aids on a national scale addresses the increased demand for hearing aids. As part of the project, organizations collaborate so that each fills a specific role in putting hearing aids into the hands of those in need. The HCOA and the University of Kansas Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences & Disorders collaborate to maintain and track all of the hearing aids in the program.
In this project, the following primary services are provided:
- Reviewing and accepting applications,
- The refurbishment of hearing aids,
- Examining the health of the ears,
- Finding people who can assist with the project by offering their services and support.
When your old hearing aids are no longer in use, they can help someone else – someone who might not otherwise be able to afford a hearing aid. A child can hear his teacher in class and excel in school if his hearing aid is donated to the National Hearing Aid Project. Getting a job or a higher-paying position could benefit a mother or father. The gift of sound can be given even though one uses a hearing aid, improving the quality of a person’s life.
Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) – Durable Medical Equipment Loan Program
In addition to funding research, healthcare, and support services for more than 40 neuromuscular diseases that affect more than one million Americans, the Muscular Dystrophy Association is one of the world’s leading non-profit health organizations. A major goal of MDA is to find treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases and support the people and families affected by these diseases.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association has decided to suspend the Loan Program for Durable Medical Equipment, effective immediately. Donations, loans, and acceptance of returned equipment fall into this category.
American Sleep Apnea Association – CPAP Machine Donation
As a nonprofit organization, the American Sleep Apnea Association works to improve the lives of those affected by sleep apnea and seeks to eliminate the condition in future generations. Their CPAP Machine Donation Programs accept donations of gently used PAP machines and factory-sealed supplies.
NATADS: Assistive Technology Portal (Device Loan and Assistive Technology Reutilization)
Assistive Technology Reutilization Programs and Device Loans are included in the NATADS Public Access database.
Through the Device Loan program, AT users can try out devices before they purchase them, access a backup system while their device is being repaired, or wait until their device is delivered.
Individuals can view and post gently used Assistive Technology for sale, free or needed, in the Assistive Technology Reutilization. The AT Program also offers the ability to view refurbished or repaired AT equipment and equipment available for open-ended loans.
Remedy – Med-Eq
Recovered Medical Equipment for Developing World (REMEDY) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing solutions for the recovery and re-use of unused medical equipment for global aid, waste reduction, and cost-effectiveness.
In addition to providing free supplies to vetted charities, Med-Eq also connects donors with charities that use supplies overseas. Bandages and catheter supplies may be donatable by mail, while hospital beds and surplus inventory may require a container truck pick-up. Donations may be accepted by charities and non-profits that hold 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status.
Hope Haven – Wheelchairs
Hope Haven is a community that values God’s special creation, the human being; encourages the realization of dreams, desires, and aspirations; values gifts, talents, and contributions; and shares accountability for personal and community growth.
In 1964, Hope Haven welcomed eleven children. Since the company’s beginnings in Northwest Iowa, it has grown and adapted to provide additional services and products. Their International Ministries impact people’s lives in 109 countries, and they are present in counties in Iowa and Minnesota.
In their mission, they deliver wheelchairs to people worldwide who desperately need them. The organization receives donations of wheelchairs, parts, raw materials, financial support, and more throughout the United States.
National Federation of the Blind – Free White Cane Program
In all fifty states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, blind individuals are eligible to request a cane. These requests can be submitted up to six times a year.
Oley Foundation – Equipment/Supply Exchange
The Oley Foundation, founded in 1983 by Dr. Lyn Howard and her patient, Clarence “Oley” Oldenburg, is a nationwide, independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that engages in education, advocacy, and networking with people experiencing home intravenous nutrition or tube feeding. As a consumer’s family, clinical team, industry representative, and other interested parties resource, the Foundation is also a valuable resource. Participants in the Equipment/Supply Exchange Program match individuals who need goods with individuals willing to donate them.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, various non-profit organizations, charities, and government programs offer free or low-cost medical supplies to eligible senior citizens in need.
Contact local non-profit organizations, charities, or senior centers to inquire about available resources. You can also search online for programs that provide medical supplies in your area.
The types of medical supplies available may include items such as walkers, wheelchairs, canes, diabetic supplies, incontinence products, and other essential healthcare items.
Yes, government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act can provide seniors with financial assistance or direct access to medical supplies, depending on eligibility and coverage.
In some cases, healthcare providers may be able to connect seniors with free or low-cost medical supplies through partnerships with manufacturers, non-profit organizations, or other resources. Consult with your healthcare provider to explore available options.
Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!