Written by Becky Wilcox
Do you have problems with mobility? Maybe a stroke or accident has left you with some balance or strength issues, or maybe severe pain or arthritis has been holding you back from getting around the way you used to. If so, you’ve likely been looking at assistive devices to help you get through your daily tasks. One thing is for certain, many high-quality power wheelchairs and lift chairs are priced accordingly, while most of them are not covered under most major insurance plans. So the next step is finding ways to fit a power chair or other piece of durable medical equipment into your budget. Here are a few ways to avoid breaking the bank.
Saving on Your Own or Using a Payment Plan
If you’ve found a scooter or power chair that you really like, the next thing you need to figure out is how to pay for it. Because insurance generally doesn’t cover motorized power scooters and wheelchairs, you’ll have to finance it on your own. To make it easier to save up the money you need, try using an online budgeting software program to help you tag and organize your monthly funds. This will allow you to save specifically for your power chair or other out of pocket health expense. You can start saving but that may take months to get the amount you need, but there is another option. The good news is that most power chair and scooter companies offer flexible payment plans and they accept credit cards. This allows you to make monthly payments that won’t break your budget. If you choose in-house financing option through the power chair company, you can avoid placing the purchase on a credit card. Ask your power chair company what type of financing they offer and if you can obtain a fair interest rate based on your credit rating and their loan criteria for new customers.
Contacting a Home Health Agency
If you feel like you have limitations on your mobility or you’re unable to meet your ADLs, or activities of daily living, consider home health care. Initially, you’ll have to talk to your doctor about your health care needs and then get a referral for home health care. From there, the agency will come to your home and assess your needs. They may help you with things like:
* Showering and bathing
* Preparing food and meals
* Running errands for household items and driving you to doctors appointments
* Perform routine household chores
* Dressing and assisting with transferring from chair to standing
* Other personal care and toileting
A healthcare professional will be able to analyze your situation and find out if you qualify for any DME, or durable medical equipment, to assist you around the home. In some cases, these items, such as a walker, handrails and shower chair may be covered under your insurance. If not, a home health care may offer these items free of charge to help assist you around the house.
Looking for Used Items
If you’re in need of a power chair or scooter to help assist with daily living, one way to cut back on costs may be to find used items. Many power scooters are available locally through DME companies or sold by public sellers. In many cases, you can obtain these items at well below retail costs, depending on their condition. If you’re in need of a bargain, you may want to shop local classifieds or contact the manufacturer directly for used or refurbished power transportation.
Making Your Home Handicap Accessible
Making life easier if you have some limitations means making your home as accessible as possible. One place to start is with a wheelchair ramp. This type of ramp is not just for wheelchairs, but for power chairs and scooters as well. This makes it easier to get in and out without having to worry about leaving the machine outdoors. Widening your doorways is another way to make your power chair or scooter accommodate you throughout the home. The problem with that is it can be expensive to completely remodel your home. If you can’t obtain a second mortgage or personal loan to pay a contractor, reach out to local community agencies for possible assistance. Many charity organizations have funds set aside for low-income individuals who are struggling with household updates. Keep in mind that if you do qualify, you may be put on a waiting list to receive assistance.
No matter what your physical limitations are, know that there are devices and accessories available to help make your life a little easier. All it takes a little budgeting to access the machine or device that’s right for you.