The aging process can make everyday life more difficult. It seems like one day, getting out of bed or getting dressed is nearly impossible. Assistive devices can help you regain your confidence, make it easier for you to move, and make your home safer.
It may seem like life gives you another brick to carry with every birthday, and the first step to removing some of those bricks is learning about helpful assistive technology, durable medical equipment, and how Medicare fits into everything.
What Does Assistive Technology Mean?
Assistive technology refers to a vast array of devices for senior citizens who need a small boost to help them live their day-to-day lives. The technology includes assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative devices, and the products allow people to live independently and not rely on home health care services or assisted living facilities.
People have used assistive medical devices long before the 21st century. "The use of assistive technology dates back to prehistoric times when people used sticks to make simple crutches," according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). "The technology has continued to advance over time leading to today's specialized wheelchairs."
Typical Assistive Devices
Assistive technologies fall into the following categories: 1. Health 2. Comfort 3. Home. You can find these products at stores such as Target and Walmart, and online at Amazon.com. These devices can range in price anywhere from $5 to $500. Common health devices include:
Health Devices for Your Everyday Life
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that falls are the most common cause of injury and death in senior citizens. Health devices provide added protection and can help prevent you from falling or having other accidents. For instance, a shower bench can prevent you from falling in the shower, because you’ll be seated. Health devices for purchase include:
- Grab bars to install in bathrooms, hallways and stairwells to help you keep your balance
- Activator poles for balance and stabilization
- A bed cane to help getting into and out of bed easier
- Ramps for wheelchair access
- Anti-slip strips to apply to slick surfaces
Comfort Devices to Make Simple Tasks Simple Again
The biggest frustrations in your everyday life can come from the smallest tasks. Buttoning your shirt or zipping up your jacket can be annoying at best or infuriating at worst. Common comfort devices include:
- A hook for buttoning to help you button and unbutton shirts and pants
- A pull for zippers so small zippers aren’t an issue
- Robot vacuums to do the dirty work of keeping your carpet and floors clean
- Computer keyboards with modified keys to make letters easier to see
- A tray table to let any room become a dining room
- A lift for your mattress to make getting in and out of bed a breeze
- An amplifier to make conversations and TV shows louder so you can hear them
Home Devices to Help You Regain Confidence
Home devices are a great way to improve your independence and make you more confident when you’re home alone. For example, a walker or cane can make it easier to navigate your home and voice-activated lighting makes it so you don’t even have to get up to turn lights on and off. Here are some common home devices:
- Fall detectors to let the people you care about know if you stumble
- Video doorbells to make it so you don’t have to get up to see who’s on your doorstep
- An alarm to alert you of power failures and turn on emergency lighting
- Thermostats with voice recordings so you can listen to temperature settings
- Automatic swing door openers to allow hands-free operation
What is Durable Medical Equipment?
The term Durable Medical Equipment (DME) refers to equipment like glucose monitors, hospital beds and sleep apnea machines. Many of the devices listed above also fall into the DME category.
Medicare Part B is the government-created medical insurance, and it covers 80 percent of DME costs, making you responsible for the remaining 20 percent. In order for Part B to cover your DME, the equipment must be durable - defined as an expected lifespan of three years or more - and have a medical reason for it to be used in your home.
Assistive device and DME coverage can also fall under certain Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) plans. Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance plans designed to pick up where the limited Medicare Part B leaves off. Some Medicare Advantage plans cover assistive devices and technologies that Original Medicare does not.
Get Coverage for Assistive Medical Devices and Technology
Your life can improve dramatically with assistive technology. Bringing assistive medical devices into your home can help you become more independent and improve your quality of life. The agents at Medicare Plan Finder can help you find a Medicare plan that will allow you to afford assistive devices. Call them at 833-438-3676 or contact them here to learn more.
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