As you age, simple tasks like buttoning your shirt, getting out of your chair, and putting on your shoes can become increasingly difficult. Assistive devices can help restore your confidence, improve mobility, and increase safety in your home. The first step in making your day-to-day life easier is understanding assistive technology, durable medical equipment, and the role of Medicare.
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology covers a wide platform of devices for older adults who may need just a little bit of help. Assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices all fall under the assistive technology umbrella. These products help those who would rather live independently at home rather than utilizing home care services or assisted living.
Common Assistive Devices
We’ll split assistive technologies into health, home, and comfort. You can purchase these products online and in-store from companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Some health devices can cost as much as five hundred dollars, but comfort devices can be priced as low as five dollars.
Health devices act as an extra layer of protection and are a great way to prevent falls and accidents. For example, grab bars in the bathroom can help you get in and out of the shower and keep you stabilized and balanced. Consider purchasing:
- Activator poles to keep you stabilized and balanced
- Grab bars to keep your balance in hallways, stairwells, bathrooms, etc.
- A bed cane to help you get in and out of bed
- A shower bench so you can sit and avoid falling in the shower
- Toilet rails to help you sit down and keep your balance
- Stairlifts so you can go up or down stairs with ease
- Wheelchair ramps so you can easily get into and out of your home
- Slip-free stair strips to keep you from slipping on slick surfaces
Home devices are a fantastic way to increase independence and confidence in your home and make it easier for you to be home alone. For example, if you need a walker or cane to get around comfortably, an automatic swing door opener allows you to open the door hands-free. Common home devices include:
- Video doorbells so you can see who’s at the door before you get up
- Fall detectors to alert your friends and family if you take a tumble
- A power failure alarm to alert you of lost power and provide emergency lighting
- An automatic swing door opener so you can open doors hands-free
- A talking thermostat so you can hear the temperature settings
- Voice-activated lights to turn your lights on and off without getting up
Sometimes the smallest tasks can cause the largest frustrations. For example, you may be easily annoyed if you can’t button your shirt yourself or hear the television well. Common comfort devices include:
- A buttoning hook to help you button shirts and pants
- A zipper pull so you don’t have to fumble with small zippers
- A modified keyboard so you can see the letters on the keys more clearly
- Robotic vacuums so you can have clean floors without lifting a finger
- A table tray so you can eat anywhere in your home
- A mattress lift so you can get in and out of your bed with ease
- A sound amplifier to help you hear conversations, television shows, etc.
Durable Medical Equipment
Durable Medical Equipment (DME) includes equipment like hospital beds, oxygen equipment, sleep apnea devices, glucose monitors, and some of the assistive devices mentioned above. DME devices are covered under Medicare Part B. You will be responsible for 20%. The equipment must be durable, used for a medical reason in your home, and have an expected lifetime of at least three years for Part B to cover it.
Medicare Advantage plans can also cover DME and assistive devices. The difference is that MA plans are able to offer additional benefits that Original Medicare does not. This includes benefits like hearing, dental, and vision coverage. Some MA plans even offer group fitness classes like Silver Sneakers or an over-the-counter monthly allowance. If you’re looking for additional coverage and benefits beyond Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan may be perfect for you!
Assistive Technology and Devices Coverage
Assistive technology and devices can improve your life in several areas. If you are interested in increasing your independence, improving your quality of life, supporting your health, and restoring your confidence, let us help you! We have licensed agents across 38 states that are contracted with all of the major carriers and can help you find a plan that makes it easier for you to afford assistive devices. To get started, call 833-438-3676 or click here.