Products to Keep You Active: 55 and over

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Whether you are a senior seeking products that will improve your mobility and your lifestyle or a family caregiver looking for better supplies to care for your loved one, there are a variety of medical supplies and equipment providers available to help. Impressive advancements in medical equipment technology have afforded more Americans the opportunity to remain independent in a healthy and safe environment.

Medical supplies and equipment fall into two major categories: medical supplies and durable medical equipment. Medical supplies generally refers to products that are used to make patients more comfortable and need to be replenished on a regular basis. Durable medical equipment includes items that are long-lasting and are generally one-time purchases. Medical supplies and durable medical equipment can be used together or separately to help elderly and disabled individuals maintain their independence and mobility.

Medical Supplies
Medical supply products help individuals cope with and manage the symptoms of illness or old age. Products include specially adapted socks and stockings, protective undergarments, skin care products, cushions and positioners, and many other helpful items. A wide variety of daily living aids are also available to help individuals who need assistance with bathing, dressing, or taking medication. Home health monitors let patients track everything from blood pressure to heart rate. Specialized in-home tests also allow patients to track their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Durable Medical Equipment
Durable medical equipment includes items that help elderly or disabled individuals maintain mobility and/or receive necessary care in the comfort of their homes. These products are designed to help those who need extra assistance performing the tasks of daily living. Durable medical equipment products can be broken into two major categories: mobility products and care assistance products.

Mobility products include a wide range of highly advanced equipment to help individuals get around. From Scooters to canes, products are available for every mobility need.

Scooters are available in a range of styles and feature various options to meet individualized needs. Many individuals find outdoor mobility challenging and are searching for a personal mobility vehicle that can help them continue to participate in activities they enjoy. Others need more comprehensive daily assistance. Today’s wide range of scooters are more maneuverable, lighter, and more durable than their older counterparts and can be customized to fit every lifestyle-from that of the active outdoorsman to the individual with decreased mobility who wants to remain independent.

Lift chairs are another popular mobility product. They look like standard recliners but provide assistance with moving from a sitting to a standing position. Most chairs provide settings that allow users to move comfortably and easily from lying, to sitting, to standing.

Stair lifts complete the motorized mobility offerings that are available to help today’s seniors. Stair lifts allow individuals to move from one level of their home to another with ease, eliminating the sometimes dangerous and difficult task of climbing and descending stairs. Stair lifts help seniors avoid becoming confined to a single level of their multi-story home. Advanced technology makes modern stair lifts smaller, quieter, and more attractive.

A wide array of wheelchairs, walkers, and canes are also available to help those with mobility assistance needs. Technology has dramatically increased the range of options available and the quality of mobility products, from the high-tech wheelchair to the low-tech but highly durable cane. As mobility technology has enhanced, seniors have found it increasingly easier to remain independent, even as their abilities change, and continue participating in the activities they enjoy.

Care assistance products include hospital-style beds, equipment to help with transferring, specially formulated mattresses that help reduce pressure, respiratory equipment, bathroom safety aids, and other equipment that promotes safety and wellness. All of these products are especially important for individuals who wish to remain in the home environment during an illness or convalescence. Durable medical equipment can also make the caregivers job easier by providing them with professional grade products to help meet their caregiving responsibilities.

Paying for Medical Supplies and Equipment
Medicare helps pay the costs for durable medical equipment. According to Medicare, in order to be covered, “items must be reusable, such as walkers, wheelchairs, or hospital beds.” Durable medical equipment for home health services is paid for under both Medicare Part B and Part A. Medicare coverage varies, and some equipment must be rented, while other equipment must be purchased. Durable medical equipment regional carriers can provide more specific information on coverage by Medicare.

Coverage by private insurance for durable medical equipment will vary greatly depending on the company and the specific policy. Coverage for medical supplies by both Medicare and private insurance will depend on the products required, specific medical needs, and doctors’ recommendations.

Finding a Medical Supplies and Equipment Provider
Medical supplies and equipment providers can offer a single solution product or multiple products to meet a range of needs. Before purchasing from a medical supplies and equipment provider, individuals should be comfortable with the professionalism and reliability of the company. Request specific information about costs and product delivery time frames. Consumers should also be aware of any warranties that cover maintenance, repair, or replacement of durable goods.

Finding a reliable provider is an important decision. The products that these providers deliver can lead to important and positive changes in the lifestyles of individuals with increased health care needs, decreased mobility, or who simply want to maintain or increase their level of independence.

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