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Moms legs are getting weaker and I'm thinking she may need a wc to get around in her very small area.

We picked up a small transport wheelchair at Walgreens for those occasions when we might take Dad somewhere and have to stand in line. He started using it to scoot around his apartment. Felt more secure than with a walker. It was much more maneuverable than a regular wheelchair.
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Reply to Invisible
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iamHis77: You will need to make sure that your mother's physician signs off on/orders/puts in a script for a wheelchair so that it is covered by Medicare. Amazon sells small wheelchairs.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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If her doctor prescribes a wheelchair, Medicare will pay most of the cost for rental, which after many months will be changed to a purchase. However, to get the best benefit, you need to buy from a Medicare-approved supplier. There may not be a Medicare-approved model that will meet your mother's needs, especially because she may need a children's wheelchair, as others have suggested. My recollection is that Medicare will also pay part of the cost of a non-Medicare-approved wheelchair, but the base price will not be discounted. Please check with her insurer. In any case, if you can possibly get a prescription, then you can probably get partial payment from Medicare. If not, manual wheelchairs are much more affordable than electric wheelchairs. It doesn't sound as if your mother would currently need an electric wheelchair. An electric wheelchair should definitely be a prescribed one; self-pay is very expensive!
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Reply to caroli1
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When my husband moved from a walker to a wheelchair we found that Medicare will pay for it IF his MD ordered it. Because he is now small and frail, we asked for a small one. He's learned to wheel it through regular, code-required doorways without having to take doors off.
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Reply to sometimer
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My mom went from using rollators on the main and top floors in her 50's rowhome and chairlifts to get her from one floor to another to using a wheelchair on the main floor. We had to get her the smallest one we could find which was the Drive BlueStreak (ordered it through WalMart). It was the narrowest one we could find, has removable leg rests and folds up. We have padding down on the seat for comfort.
Her home is so small though there's no way she can use it on her upstairs floor- where the only bathroom is- without some serious modifications (and we don't know how we could widen her bedroom door because it would affect the wall). For her bathroom, the solution would be to remove the wall in between her bed and bath as long as it isn't load-bearing. For her main floor, she has virtually no muscles left, so it was a bit hard for her to move herself in her chair across the carpet. She had just had that put in a few years ago and threw a fit when I suggested we should remove it and go with the hard wood underneath. :)
Fast forward a bit and she was in rehab shortly after we ordered the chair and then it was recommended she not be home alone. So, she's here with us now. We have a bathroom on our main floor that she can get in with her chair (but not able to close the door). We have hardwood on our main floor where she stays that she can easily manuever around and she can manage in the carpeted areas as well. She was trying to use her rollator but PT determined she was not able to get around all the time on that and was not going to improve beyond the wheelchair unless she gets knee replacements (her knee joints are very unstable, but she refuses surgery). So, the chair is where she'll stay. We are currently looking at moving and she will have her own area accomodated for her use.
On the other hand, you can have a wheelchair made. A friend of mine whose young adult son has Ewing's sarcoma had a wheelchair made just for him. She said it wasn't terribly expensive (I can't remember the cost, thinking around $700) and I think their insurance covered most of it. Fitting through doorways was one thing taken into consideration. Something else to check out.
Best wishes on the solution that works for your mom!
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Reply to ybd311
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Wheelchairs should sized to the person who will be using it. If the chair is to small or too big, it can create discomfort and even sores.
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Reply to Lestax
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You may be at a crossroads where her walking mobility is waning and her risk for falls will be greater. My mother went from one day using her rollator to the next unable to get up out of a chair. That set the stage for her becoming bedridden. My family saw it coming as we watched her struggle more and more to get up. But, she was determined and kept getting it done until she was 94. We had to accept her new limitations and adapt. Even if physical therapy had restored her ability to use her rollator her change in strength would have made her a huge fall risk.

What is worse - being somewhat bedridden or trying to walk in a weakened state and breaking a hip? I say “somewhat” because she still exercises her arms and legs and did a month of PT in bed to keep her abdominal muscles strong enough to sit up a little when pillows or bed linens are being adjusted. She assists by rolling and grabbing the bed rails during changes. She sings songs in bed and makes her own choreography which I sometimes do with her. Most of all - she does NOT spend the whole day in bed. We get her up in a upholstered chair with armrests almost every day for a few hours. We use a Hoyer lift with a cloth sling. She was terrified of it at first but now looks forward to it. I sometimes use the Hoyer to place her in a full size wheelchair so we can go outside on nice days and walk up and down the driveway and front walk outside. We have a ramp to get her out of the house to the garage and out the garage door. A yoga teaching friend of mine works with her for free inside the house in the chair and in bed. She doesn’t do any “downward dogs” but she enjoys doing what she can. We pass a ball back and forth and do anything else we can think of to keep her moving. We will keep doing these things until she can’t or doesn’t want to. At that point she will truly be “bedridden” and probably not long for this world. I do have to do a lot of caretaking because she cannot get to the bathroom and has to be changed in bed. That is another subject, but even that can be made into a routine that gets easier once you find the things you need to make it so. I have help coming in during the week for a few hours every day. I take most weekends. No sisters - so it is me or a nursing home. Home care is our choice for now.

There is one mobility skill that my mother cannot do that is worth preserving if you can. That is the ability to stand and pivot to a wheelchair and chair. Even if she can’t walk, the ability to stand and pivot with assistance is valuable. However, it does present a transfer risk for falling if improperly done. Have a PT specialist train you both before doing. Best of luck.
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Reply to jemfleming
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RedVanAnnie Aug 1, 2021
I love that your mother sings songs and makes up choreography for her exercises! She sounds delightful. Your accommodations to her changing abilities are spot on.
Good advice, too, about not forcing more mobility than is safe for the person with weakness and instability. This should always be considered when choosing devices to assist mobility.
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Exercise her every single day. I took my mom to the park everyday same time and same place for 5 years and she was only bedridden for a few months before she died. I had to end up getting an upright speciality walker but she loved it. Fight to keep her mobility because once you lose that her care will be much more difficult. Imagine trying to move her bowels while bedridden including enemas. That is what bedridden is all about.

Keep her moving! Wheelchairs are horrible. They slide in them and lean.
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Reply to cetude
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Would your mother be able to move herself in a wheelchair? Consider hallway and door widths and carpeting and other floor surfaces. The chair needs to be big enough for your mother's comfort, but overall chair width needs to fit through the spaces and doors in the home.
My mother was in a wheelchair for several decades in our 1950's vintage house. Her chair fit through doors and hallways without any modification. She needed to be pushed over carpeted areas b/c she was not strong enough to move the chair over carpet by herself.
There are some combination wheelchair/transport chairs where the large wheels can be popped on and off as needed.
If your mother is not strong enough to move herself, would she be safe on a mobility scooter? Those are a lot more expensive than wheelchairs, but a possible option.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Good idea to start with a walker that has a seat on it, especially for in her home. These kinds of walkers are very useful, if some walking can be done. The walker can be folded somewhat and will fit in a large car. You can also push someone sitting on the walker for short distances. If you'll be going longer distances, and you know she won't be able to walk the whole way, we got a portable wheel chair for my aunt. It also folds up and will fit in the trunk of a large car. The back and seat are soft, and it doesn't provide as much support as the non-foldable wheel chairs. Try to find out if your mother will accept being in a wheel chair. Some people don't want this.
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Reply to NancyIS
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Invisible Aug 3, 2021
They recommend you do not use a rollator (walker with seat) as a wheelchair. The portable wheelchair (transport wheelchair) is a better bet.
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Start with a walker. There are some that have a chair so she can sit when she gets too tired. It is better to let her walk while she still can.
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Reply to Taarna
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If she is small in size, you could get a child's wheelchair.

Just Google small wheelchairs and see what comes up.

If the wheelchair won't fit thru the bathroom door, you could have the door removed for easier access.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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You should have your mom see a physical therapist and occupational therapist to determine the best wheelchair solution.
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Reply to Ricky6
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My Mom is in an older home, so doorways are small. She uses a transport wheelchair. I bought her a comfortable cushion and arm rest covers from Amazon.
When someone is there, we push her. When she's alone, she uses her feet to scoot herself around quite effectively.
Best wishes.
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Reply to Chickie1
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We bought a KARMA wheelchair for my 98 yo Mom and weighs 95 pounds.
It’s small scale, comfortable, easy to push with shock absorbing wheels, folds up easily and fits into a car or taxi.
We have the ERGO-lite series.
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Reply to Lee10075
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We had a child size wheelchair at work that was donated. The person who borrowed it had a mother who only weighted 100 lbs and she was short. Was perfect for her.

Regular wheelchairs are 18in wide. Go to a Durable equipment store. They can help you pick the right one.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Following as I have just started looking for a smaller wheelchair (I just started looking at smaller electric ones but trying to find something that had a little tilt). My moms custom chair is so big for just small trips or smaller stores and doorways etc. I would love to find her one that others have had good experiences with.
wishing you the best for one for your mom as well 💕
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Reply to Momheal1
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Got my mom a rollator till her legs got weaker. The seat w/ small compartment under neath is just right. However, she used to bend over as she walked, rather than stand upright to walk. (Teepa Snow says they're watching their feet) & it became hard on her wrists & back. Recently transitioned my mom to a transport chair, lighter than WC & easy to fold in the trunk.
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Reply to naia2077
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I bought my mom a youth rollator on Amazon so I would think there are also youth wheelchairs available.
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Reply to ThomasY
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My bother bought a transport wheel chair for Dad. A couple thoughts from him, it is designed to be pushed, not for the seated person to propel themselves. It is not comfortable on cracked or lumpy sidewalks.

If your Mum is weak she may not have any strength to propel herself.

My brother is looking at getting Dad a Rollator, because of the seat. Dad is using a walker now, but his legs are very weak and he runs out of energy quickly a seat is needed.
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Reply to Tothill
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hallah Jul 28, 2021
Tothill, my wife has a Rollator. The wheels make it easy to move around and the seat comes in handy. In fact I sit on it at my wife’s doctor appointments while she sits in their chair. :>)
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You could try a transport chair, but honestly a smaller mobility scooter may work better for her.
I used a transport chair for my husband, before he became bedridden, when I would have to take him out and about. I had to do the pushing of him, and I have weak arms from different surgeries, so it was challenging at times.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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If hallways are narrow that is a problem but for doorways you can have the hinges replaced with ones that will allow full swing opening. They are called Offset hinges or Swing Clear hinges. Most Big Box Hardware Stores will have them .
If she needs a wheelchair have her doctor order one. The smaller transport chairs are easier to get around they are lighter to pick up as well. The question is though how weak is she getting will she be able to push herself in a wheelchair?
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Reply to Grandma1954
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