There is plenty of free medical equipment out there, if you know where to look. But be aware that most of it will be used equipment, and that does come with risks, and you must properly check the equipment for cracks and faulty parts.
That said, I have put together a list of organizations giving away free medical equipment, websites where free equipment is posted by private individuals, places to buy cheap used medical equipment, along with instructions on how to apply where necessary.
In Sacramento, you can get free home medical equipment from –
- the California Assistive Technology Program “Ability Tools”
- AT Exchange
- reuse, recycling and refurbishing centers, such as “Recares” or “The Marin Medical Equipment Recyclers”
- community medical equipment loan closets, such as “NorCal SCI”
- centers for independent living, such as “Center for Independent Living, Inc. Berkeley”
- nonprofits helping the disabled in their communities, such as “Breathe California Bay Area”
- Medicare, but not free
- VA Centers
- senior centers
- cheap at Goodwill
- cheap at the Salvation Army
- cheap at thrift stores, such as “Mastick Senior Center Thrift Store”
You can also find free used medical equipment person-to-person, in Oakland, using online platforms and social media sites such as –
You will find links to my guides on how to use each of these online platforms to find free medical equipment.
The “Table of Contents” below has Quick links to all the different sections, so if there is one you prefer to investigate, you can jump straight to it.
CONTENTS - Overview & Quick Links
- free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on Craigslist.com
- free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on Freecycle.org
- free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on UsedHME.com
- free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on Facebook.com
- free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on Nextdoor.com
- free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on OfferUp.com
- Area Agencies on Aging
- Department of Social Service
- Lions Clubs
- Rotary Clubs
- Catholic Charities of Sacramento
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- Lutheran Services of Sacramento
- The Jewish Family Service of Sacramento
- Your local church or faith Groups
Free medical equipment from Ability Tools, the State Assistive Technology Program
Under the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, all states in the US can receive a federal grant for State Assistive Technology Programs.
“ABILITY TOOLS” is the California State Assistive Technology Program, and it is responsible for developing access for the community to “assistive technology devices”.
Durable medical equipment can be considered as a type of assistive technology devices, and as such individuals, in California, who cannot function without durable medical equipment for their daily living activities – the disabled – have access to free equipment through “Ability Tools”.
The California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition, a coalition of “reuse programs”, is contracted by Ability Tools to help it find, refurbish and redistribute durable medical equipment, and other devices, across California.
“The reuse programs accept donations of assistive technology devices and medical equipment, repair, and sanitize them, and then offer them to people with disabilities for free, or at low cost.” – Source here.
ABILITY TOOLS has a system of equipment loans for those in need –
- free short term loans home medical equipment
- free long short term loans of home medical equipment
- lend home medical equipment indefinitely for free
There is also an opportunity to purchase refurbished home medical equipment at a very low cost, for those who don’t qualify for free equipment.
The Ability Tools AT Exchange
The Ability Tools AT Exchange is an online assistive technology exchange.
The participating members of the CATRC, post the inventories of all their refurbished medical equipment on the Ability Tools AT Exchange, so that everyone, including members of the public, can see what is available at the different reuse centers.
You can see what is available right now on the AT Exchange here – http://abilitytools.org/services/at-exchange-transition.php
To see how to use it, go to my article which contains instructions on how to use the AT Exchange, “Free Medical Equipment In California: How And Where To Get It”.
Free medical equipment from the California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition
You can visit the California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition website here.
If you wish to know if you are eligible for free, or low cost durable medical equipment, either on a loan, or a permanent basis, just contact the coalition center in your area.
Below, I have listed the CATRC Reuse Center for Oakland.
ReCares (formerly Home Cares)
ReCares collects “gently” used medical equipment which, if necessary, it refurbishes and then redsitributes to those in need.
ReCares offers equipment such as –
- adult briefs
- shower chairs
- tub/transfer benches
- and more
The main center is at –
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510 251 2273
There are also satellite offices here –
The alleyway of 63 Dorland St
Phone: 415 487-54053100
Marin Medical Equipment Re-cyclers
3100 Kerner Blvd
Phone: 415 388 8198
The Marin Medical Equipment Re-cyclers site offers the following equipment –
- companion chairs
- transfer benches
- shower chairs
- orthopedic supports
- blood pressure machines
- wedge pillows
- therapeutic cushions
Ability Tools Device Lending and Demo Center for Oakland
Ability Tools has a Device Lending and Demonstration Center in San Francisco.
Assistive technology devices are loaned out on short term loans (up to 30 days).
The Device Lending and Demonstration Center in San Francisco is the –
Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF)
825 Howard Street, Street Level
Phone: 415 543 6222
Centers for Independent Living (CILS) in
A CIL’s mission is to provide the support and services needed to people with disabilities, so that they may live independently in the community.
Providing a free medical equipment loan closet for their members is one of the services.
If you are disabled, you will need to see if you qualify to become a member of a CIL to gain access to their support and services.
There is a main CIL in Berkeley –
Center for Independent Living, Inc
3075 Adeline Street,
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510 841 4776
1904 Franklin St, #320
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510 763 9999
1470 Fruitvale Ave,
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone: 510 536 2271
You can find other CIL’s in the Bay Area, here –
Free medical equipment loan closets in
A great place to find free medical equipment – usually on loan, is a community loan closet.
Typically, anyone can borrow equipment, but in some cases you may need to prove that you have a low income, or are disabled.
Unfortunately, other than Recares I have not been able to find any community loan closets, but I am sure that there are some more.
Senior Centers in the Oakland area
Some Senior Centers have medical equipment loan closets that lend to members of the local community, and some only lend to users, or members of their particular center.
But in any case, Senior Centers and their members, will be a mine of information on all sorts of community resources, and hopefully will know of some community loan closets in your area.
I check the list below of Oakland Senior Centers and contact some of those which are near to you, and you may just get lucky !
Veteran Centers in Oakland
If you are caring for a veteran, and don’t know what they are eligible for, you can contact The VA Services in Oakland –
Alameda County Veterans Services
6955 Foothill Blvd, 300
Phone: 510 577 3547
Disabled American Veterans
200 Grand Avenue, 205
Phone: 510 893 1666
Vietnam Veterans of America
200 Grand Avenue, 208
Phone: 510 444 5235
Free medical equipment online near me in Oakland
It isn’t difficult to find free home medical equipment online near to you in Oakland, and you can find some really unexpected items.
I’ve even seen a hospital bed in working condition on Facebook Marketplace, being offered for free.
The only drawback, is that you don’t know who you are getting it from, and what condition it is in. You need to be a little careful, and if you think yourself to be a little vulnerable, you shouldn’t give out your personal information, and you should arrange to meet the people offering items in public places.
The following sites are a mine of free home medical equipment –
- Facebook Marketplace
Free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on Craigslist
Craigslist, is a very well known website for posting your local advertisements, and finding items locally, so in your case Oakland.
Craigslist has created a special category called “free stuff”, within which you can search for the item you are looking for !
To do the searches on Craigslist is free, it works on all devices, and no membership required.
To see how it is done, you can read my quick illustrated article – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Craigslist ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”
Screenshot of Craigslist listings page
Screenshot example of a Craigslist garage sale page
Free Used Medical Equipment near me in Oakland, on FreeCycle.org
Freecycle.org is a free platform with no buying or selling, made of groups of individuals offering free items to one another within their group, or groups. You can find groups all over the US, including in and around Oakland, and you can join as many as you wish.
As well as offering items, you can post requests for items you need.
You can make Freecycle.org as local as your nearest group, which in most cases is right where you live.
To see how it is done, you can read my quick illustrated article on how to find free used home medical equipment near you on Freecycle.org – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Freecycle.org ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”
Screenshot of Freecyle.org page
Used medical equipment for sale or free, near me in Oakland, on usedHME.com
This is a website exclusively for advertisements selling, buying and donating used home medical equipment, and it will find all the items in Oakland.
You won’t be asked to join, and it is free to search for items.
The equipment searches are done based on your zip code, so you can set it up to be as local as you want.
To see how it is done, you can read my quick illustrated guide on how finding free used medical equipment on UsedHME.com – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On UsedHME.com ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”
Free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on Facebook
Unlike Craigslist and UsedHme.com, here you have to have an account if you want to find free items on Facebook in Oakland, but it is free and easy to do.
You will be able to look for free items in your area by using –
- buying and selling groups
- the Facebook Marketplace
To see how it is done, you can read my illustrated guide on how to find free medical equipment on Facebook – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Facebook ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”
Screenshot of Facebook Marketplace page
Free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on Nextdoor.com
Nextdoor.com is an easy-to-use social media platform, on which you can find free medical equipment near you in Oakland.
When you become a member, which is free and easy, you will only see people who live in yours, and surrounding neighborhoods.
It is available both as an app for mobile, and on desktop – just download the app for mobile.
To see how it is done, you can read my quick illustrated guide showing how to use it – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Nextdoor.com ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”
Screenshot of Nextdoor.com “All Listings” page
Free used medical equipment near me in Oakland, on OfferUp
OfferUp is an app and website which was created to make it simpler to off-load items you don’t need, passing them on to others.
It’s “mobile first”, but it is available on desktop as well, you visit the website OfferUp.com.
It all free to use, and you will find people buying, selling and offering items for free in Oakland.
The video I have linked to below, is about how to use OfferUp, and it explains everything very nicely. Just watch the video !
Getting free medical equipment with Medicaid in California
Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid health care program.
It may provide free medical equipment in some cases, or provide low-cost health coverage in others – it depends on your income.
Medi-Cal covers certain “devices” i.e. durable medical equipment, used as part of it’s “essential health benefits”.
You will be covered for durable medical equipment –
- when your requirement is “medically necessary”
- when it is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner
- when the equipment satisfies your medical needs
Medicaid covers items such as –
- grab bars
- hospital beds
- oxygen therapy equipment
- augmentative communication devices
You can read more in this article “Obtaining Assistive Technology through Medi-Cal” here.
Another very helpful and informative article is “An Advocate’s guide to Medi-Cal Service”, January 2020, here.
Medi-Cal Programs specifically targeting the elderly and the disabled
Certain Medi-Cal waivers, known as Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) programs or waivers, provide “home care services”, and will typically cover purchase of Durable Medical Equipment, or Assistive Devices, if prescribed as “medically necessary” by the beneficiary’s medical provider.
Be warned, the programs have limited numbers of places, so there may well a waiting list.
Here are those Medi-Cal waivers –
Home and Community-Based Alternatives Waiver – read it here.
Self-Determination Program – read it here.
The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) Waiver – read about this here.
The sources for this section on Medi-Cal are –
“Obtaining Assistive Technology Through Medi-Cal” – https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/system/files/file-attachments/558301.pdf
“Medi-Cal waivers – https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/Pages/Medi-CalWaivers.aspx
The California Department of Health Care Services” – https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/
Can you get free home medical equipment with Medicare ?
I am not going to pretend that Medicare is free, but you can make some large savings on durable medical equipment in certain instances.
Medicare Part B, if you qualify under its rules, gives insurance coverage to some durable medical equipment.
I have written an article outlining the rules, with scenarios for differently priced pieces of equipment, so that you can see when it is worth using your Medicare Part B coverage to pay for durable medical equipment, here, “Can You Get Free Medical Equipment With Medicare ?”
Where to ask about free medical equipment in your neighborhood in Oakland ?
If you are having no luck at all finding any free medical equipment, the organizations and administrations below all work with individuals and families in need.
There is a wealth of information that has been collected from providing and running all the different services, so I would contact any of them, and ask them about the resources in your area –
- Your local Area Agency on Aging – Alameda County Area Agency On Aging
- Alameda County Social Services Agency
- Lions Clubs
- Rotary Clubs
- Catholic Charities East Bay
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County
- The Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay
- Local church communities
Area Agency on Aging in Oakland
The agency in Oakland is –
Alameda County Area Agency On Aging
6955 Foothill Blvd, Ste 300
Phone: 510 577 1907
Thomas L. Berkley Square(North Oakland)
2000 San Pablo Avenue,
Phone: 510 891 0700
7751 Edgewater Drive,
Phone: 510 208 0995
Alameda County Social Services Agency website – here.
Find a Lions club near you in Oakland, and give them a call to see if they know of a loan closet for free medical equipment in the area.
Use their locator tool to find clubs.
See my quick illustrated guide outlining how to find a Lions Club near you, which you can read here.
Again, with Rotary Club’s in your area in Oakland, use their locator tool to find a club near you and ask if they know of any community medical equipment loan closets near you.
See my quick, illustrated guide on how to locate a Rotary Club near you using their locator, that you can read here.
The Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay
Alameda County Office
2484 Shattuck Ave, Ste 210,
Phone: 510 704 7475
Home Care for Seniors
Phone: 510 684 6009
Your local church or faith groups
Church communities are a source of lots of information, and churches very often run the following types of programs –
- food banks
- clothes loan closets
- medical equipment loan closets
I would make lots of phone calls, or visit churches,and get asking questions about any free resources for equipment.
Where to get cheap medical equipment in Oakland ?
The next best option, if you cannot get your hands on any free medical equipment, may be to buy some gently used durable medical equipment.
If you are going to buy used equipment, remember to check it out thoroughly for any defects and safety, before you make your purchase.
Refurbishing centers typically have systems for running safety checks on used home medical equipment, technicians for fixing any defaults, and to sanitize it.
Thrift shops do not have any of this, and typically won’t do anything at all, and they will sell the items “as-is”.
Always check thrift store items from top to bottom, look for rust if they is metal, and cracks in any plastic elements.
Finally, ask whether any items you are buying have been sanitized, and/or checked for safety, if you buy from a thrift store, and if you are accepting them “as-is”
Cheap used medical equipment at Goodwill Stores in the Oakland
Not every Goodwill store sells home medical equipment, so I’d give them a call to find out if they have any before you go.
The stores sell all their used products “as is”, and cannot be held responsible for any breaks, or their consequences.
Goodwill does not do any refurbishing or sanitizing of items before putting them on sale – the only measure they take is to not accept items which are not in great condition.
Inspect ! Inspect ! Inspect !
Goodwill stores in Oakland
The Goodwill organization which serves the Oakland area is Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay.
Goodwill has 8 stores in Oakland
To locate a store near you in San Francisco, use their locator tool here.
Cheaper used medical equipment in Oakland at Salvation Army stores
Salvation Army stores, just like Goodwill stores, do not all sell used home medical equipment, so if there is one in your area, call to check first.
The Salvation Army states on their website that there is no repair, or cleaning, of the items that they accept for sale.
So, again, inspect ! Inspect ! Inspect !
The store locator tool is here – https://satruck.org/ThriftStore
Cheap used medical equipment in thrift stores in Oakland
Buying from thrift stores you need to remember to check the quality of the equipment – cracks, faulty joints etc., you are buying the used equipment “as is”, which means they accept no responsibility if it breaks, or you have any accidents.
I have an article on buying used medical equipment in California here – The Ultimate Guide To Used Medical Equipment In California
ARF Thrift Store
1950 Market Street, Suite H,
Phone: 925 685 0908
At present, they do not accept walkers and crutches, but they do not have a blanket policy on all types of home medical equipment, so I would call to see if they are selling any items or not.
Free Oakland Up
2809 MacArthur Blvd,
Everyone can take one free item.
Phone – none, so contact them on the website contact page.
Open Thursday to Sunday, 12-4pm
Habitat For Humanity ReStore Oakland
9235 San Leandro St,
Phone: 510 777 1447
Some stores take donations of used home medical equipment, So give them a call to see if they have any items of medical equipment for sale at the time of your search.
7954 MacArthur Blvd,
Phone: 510 878 2477
Mastick Senior center thrift store
1538 St Charles St,
Phone: (510) 747-7500
If the thrift store is part of a senior center, so if they don’t have durable medical equipment, that would just be weird.
St. Vincent de Paul Society Thrift Store
9235 San Leandro St,
Phone: 510 636 4252
Some of their locations take durable medical equipment, and others don’t, so you need to call and ask whether they have any used durable medical equipment.
You have a lot of options here, so hopefully you will find something that will help you out.
I will be adding extra resources as I find them.
I’m Gareth, the author and owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com
I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.