Promote Senior Mobility with Durable Medical Equipment

Promote Senior Mobility with Durable Medical Equipment

Wheelchair with HandRolling-crop

The hours and days just after being discharged from a health facility can be filled with uncertainty. Home should be a place for recuperation, where you or your aging loved one can focus on rest. It is important to make sure your home promotes recovery, which can be aided with the help of Durable Medical Equipment (DME). This is a broad category which addresses a range of different health issues, but all are designed to promote healing for seniors and other homecare patients. The most basic types of DME offer simple, practical ways to support walking and avoid injuries from falling.

Each patient’s DME-needs are unique, so you should always ask a trusted healthcare professional for their assessment. But below is a list of basic DME to get you started thinking about medical equipment in your home.
Bathroom grab bars
Falling in homes is a common and serious problem among the elderly, especially in bathrooms where wet floors can present an unexpected hazard. One simple solution is installing grab bars to help seniors keep their balance.
This type of home care equipment is available for $25-45 per bar at most hardware stores. When deciding on which type to buy, you should consider:
  • Weight: How much weight can the bar support? Most can hold up to 250 pounds, but the actual limit should be listed on the packaging.
  • Number: How many do you need to install? Research recommends installing 2 bars inside your bathtub or shower, 1 bar near the outside and 1 next to the toilet.
  • Length: You will need to measure your bathroom’s dimensions beforehand.
Walking aids
Canes, crutches and walkers help seniors maintain their mobility. It helps them move around the home and out the door to visit friends and family, or walk to the park.
Canes are the easiest to use and are meant for aging patients suffering from balance issues or minor lower-body problems. For a quick test, walk across a room with someone else providing support. If one assisting hand is enough to help you walk, a cane might be a suitable option. But if you need both hands then a walker is probably the best be.
Make sure you choose a cane with the proper type and length. Standard canes are meant to steady balance while offset canes are designed to support more bodyweight. Likewise, the recommended cane length is the distance from your wrist crease down to the ground, when you are standing straight with both arms hanging at your side.
Walkers are ideal for patients who need more stability.While they are quite cumbersome, walkers also offer a substantial degree of support for seniors lacking upper-body strength or balance. These mobility aids come in a variety of forms. No-wheel walkers provide the most stability, while 2- and 4-wheel walkers allow for easier mobility. If you or your elderly loved one has arthritis in the fingers, a larger grip will make grasping the walker much more comfortable.
Crutches are helpful when you need to remove all weight from your lower-body, and might be a good option for fit seniors recovering from acute leg injuries. Many elderly people are unable to use crutches, but for those with enough stability and upper-body strength, it can provide more mobility than other walking aids.
Where to buy DME
Medicare should cover costs for most walking aids with a doctor’s prescription, but there are times when insurance won’t cover DME. Fortunately, patients have alternatives to paying out-of-pocket for new equipment. Buying used is one option. Many independent living centers can provide listings for used medical equipment, while websites like Disabled Dealer, Planet Mobility and UsedHME host classifieds geared towards DME.
Caring Senior Service also offers used medical equipment in special cases. Our DME donation drive offers a great way to re-use older home medical equipment, and offer a tangible improvement to the lives of our clients and other aging patients. Our drive will run through August and September, so stay tuned for more information on ways to donate.
For more information, please visit our website at www.caringseniorservices.com