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Grandma will be coming to live with me soon. I need to buy her a wheelchair and bathroom safety items. Will insurance cover any of these costs, particularly the wheelchair?


The wheelchair will probably be around $200 out-of-pocket. She only needs it so we can get her in and out of the house. It would also come in handy to get her to go places like the grocery store as she dislikes walking and is afraid of falling. She doesn't need it at the doctor's office. She always uses a walker.


I figure the grand total of everything she'll need will come to around $541 + tax.


I know nothing about her insurance and neither does she. Her son (my uncle) is in charge of that. I just thought I'd check things out before talking to him about it.

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97 yroldmom, great advice, I had ot and pt in they were extremely helpful. Looked at our tub/shower, tjought about it, then told me what type of shower chair would work best. Then came back to show me the easiest way to actually get mom on chair and showered. I liked the fact that as my mom was declining, they came back with new suggestions. Great advice!
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Be sure to take care of yourself I meant to say.
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My moms Medicare paid for bed and chair and walker and bedside commode. They will also repair as needed and replace after several years. Bedside commodes also work great as shower chairs. When you get a wheelchair try to get a good jell cushion. Medicare will pay for that also. Don't allow her to sit in it too long. Bad for circulation. But easier/safer to get up and down due to raised height and can be locked in place. Find a good medical supplier and they can help you choose. Try to get physical and occupational therapy in your home for her. It's so important that she keep active. If she sits and gains weight it will be hard on her and you. The PT will give her exercises that the two of you can do together. The OT will help you make sure your home is safe and help her maneuver in her new environment. Sorry you didn't ask for that last bit. Because to take care of yourself. Good luck.
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Never knew that made those, guess I was just lucky the commodes fit in out bathrooms. Thanks JoAnn
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Rosebush, there are highrisers that go on the toilet that give somemore highth. If you have the room, I think a commode is better. The arms help the person get up and the legs can be adjusted. The back bar screws off. You can buy a splash guard to take the place of the bucket or cut the bottom off the bucket.
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Please try to find out what kind of insurance she has as that will be a key factor. Some insurances will pay for things like this if there is a doctor's order. Depending on what state you live in, there might be places that we call here in Iowa "Medical loan closets." These are places that you can go to get a wheel chair, walkers, commodes, things for the shower, etc. Sometimes, some hospitals will as well have these "loan closets." There is no cost for this at all!
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Key item, you have to get the elder's doc to sign off on it for Medicare approval.
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I had a commode from my mom and then my dad received one and I took the bucket off and place them over our toilets. Dad is still able to go into the bathroom so this works for us. I don't know the difference between the toilet seats mentioned above and the commode. Another thing that I thought of that we did years ago was that all of the grandchildren chipped in and bought my grandmom a petite lift chair/recliner. Medicare did pay for a very small amount of the price of the chair. My grandmom used the chair for a good 5 years then my mom used it. We definitely got use out of this chair and grandmom liked it better then getting a lot of gifts that she really didn't need.
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The answer is yes if the doctor of the elder signs off on it. Then Medicare SHOULD cover it.
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I worked for nursing facility. You need to do some reasearch concerning Medicare. Like I said, they dont cover shower chairs. They may cover one thing, like a wheelchair, but when u need a bed, that won't be covered since u got a wheelchair.
A bed will cost you over a $1000. Like suggested, try the Redcross, the Lions Club, ect
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If you need things quickly try asking at your local senior center if you town has one. Many senior centers accept donated items to help with the elderly and loan them out to others in need. At my local senior center they did not even ask me to sign anything saying that I would bring the items back. I did return them when my mother went back to her house after recuperating.
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Medicare has a benefit for DME (durable medical equipment). Look that up under medicare.gov. It will need a doctor's order, but check on the specifics. We live in a retirement community Sun City, AZ and there is an organization which loans those types of equipment free. Check with churches or other organizations where you live if they can loan you these items.
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Medicare will pay for a wheelchair. It won't pay for a shower chair. Her supplimental may.
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My mom has Medicaid (who only provide a daytime home health care provider - 37 hours per week). She also has Medicare part B insurance. Just remember to always ask the doctor for a prescription first and then if insurance won't approve it then you know you will have to buy it yourself. The DM will let you know if insurance covers the item. No one seems to provides bathroom equipment which is what an elderly person with limited mobility really needs. So we bought the toilet seat riser with handles, shower chair, portable light weight wheel chair, and safety bars from Amazon - they're always less expensive than other stores already mentioned. My husband also built ramps for the house doors. Yet, insurance has paid for a cane, walker, walker with wheels,...then my mom developed back issues due to osteoporosis so she got a back brace, and hospital bed as per her doctor's prescription - thank God! Just always ask for a prescription first before buying anything out of pocket.
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Wow, you are taking on a HUGE task! Read all the answer here, especially about POA and MPOA, you will have to be able to talk to the doctors....I would suggest you contact some churches, some senior citizen centers, office for the aging, and assisted living/nursing homes to see if there is equipment you can rent/buy/get for free. There was a place here called something like Karen's Kloset, affiliated with a church, they had crutches, walkers, the occasional wheelchair. They also had a list of handymen who would do repairs or something not too large around the house for senior citizens for a reduced rate.
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Medicare pays for one.
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It does if you have VA benefits! Check it out!
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If you are interested in buying a lightweight wheelchair you can get them at Walmart, Walgreens, etc. shop around online because I got free shipping. Ours is blue, think it is made by Drive medical, but my dad is out with it so I can't check. You may want to use a cushion because sometimes you can feel the bars under your but. It does come with a seatbelt. My mom was short enough that I never had to use the legs, which also made it easier.
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We do not have a handicap friendly house. If I spend down so my husband (dementia) can get on MA, they will come in and help make our home more handicap friendly. At this point, we have too much in assets. I did buy a transport chair (part of spend down) and it is so much lighter and fits through doors much better. It is not to be used as a chair to sit in all the time, but I don't know why. It has 12" wheels and is easy to transport him all over.
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If your grandmother will be living with you will you be the one taking her to her Dr. appointments? If so, you should have the MPOA and be listed with her Dr. and insurance company as such so that they can share information with you.

Look for a transport chair, not a full wheelchair, as they are lighter and less expensive. A transport chair does not have the large wheels on the side and folds up easily to fit in the trunk or back seat of a car. When looking for a chair keep granny's height and weight in mind and buy a chair in which she will feel secure. If it is too large she will slide around and it will be uncomfortable.

Contact friends and ask whether anyone has any of these types of items available - transport chair, bedside commode, shower chair, etc. - or do they know anyone who does inhome care as those folks often have access to used items.

Definitely install grab bars in the bathroom and perhaps along a hall. Use good size and install with toggle bolts through the well. Take up any throw rugs or area rugs. Have good lighting and night lights. Take up decorative items on the floor that might be in granny's walking path. Consider a ramp for the exterior stairs if there are more that a couple. It just makes things easier.
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not sure but you might be able to claim on her taxes as medical needs but you should keep all receipts. (I said "might"). when I bought my dad's walker I didn't think about it but the next year the lady from office of aging said I could claim if I had receipt, which I didn't. so it was out of my pocket.....no biggie for me.
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If your grandfather was a vet, you may get some assistance from the veterans administration. We received a wheelchair thru insurance and medicare after back surgery for my dad. He is a big man and it is a big heavy chair. I usually use the light weight one I bought for my mom online. Small wheels not the big ones on the side. This one is so much lighter, can easily put in the back seat of the car and fits thru doorways easier
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Great answers thus far. Another resource is to contact a durable medical supply store in your area and ask. If you know what insurance your grandmother has, they should be able to give you at least a general answer.
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Yes, I would contact your uncle and he can see what's covered. My experience is that Medicare covers walkers, wheel chairs, "bed side" commodes (not ones for in the bathroom) and they don't cover shower chairs (just went through this with my mom). Medicare figures they can take a bath or sponge bath - go figure. But shower chair are pretty cheap and you can get them on-line too. Good luck!!
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mejjy, if your grandma is coming to live with you, will you also have the DPOA and the MPOA? This is only the beginning of the things you will need for her. A doctor's script is necessary for bathroom safety items (grab bars), wheelchair, walker, and other items for insurance to cover them. Discuss this with her doctor, and that office can probably get the ball rolling for you. Yes, you can get wheelchairs cheap at Goodwill or Salvation Army. However, they may not fit through the doorways in your house. And getting a wheelchair that actually fits the person is very helpful in the long run. In order for me to come home from rehab following hip replacement, an occupational therapist came out to our home to tell us what needed to be in place for me. Again, the doctor could order this evaluation. You will learn a lot from such a visit. You are taking on a lot having her come to live with you. Take time to find resources in your community to help you and your grandma, such as Area Agency on Aging and the local senior center. Good luck.
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Call the uncle. Generally Medicare part B covers durable medical equipment as long as it has an MD order. Shower chairs are cheap. Wheelchairs can be found for next to nothing at the Goodwill or Salvation army.
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