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My mother is reaching a point where she needs me to push her in a wheelchair when we go shopping. We live in a very small town. Many of the stores do not have wheelchairs available, and the ones that do, mostly have the electric motor scooters. My mother is unable to operate something like that. Will Medicare or Medicaid help us with getting a wheelchair for her?

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Medicare has changed. They will no longer cover the cost of buying wheelchairs usually, but they may help with the cost of renting one from an accredited medical supply store. I understand the logic. So many people were getting the "free" motorized chairs when they weren't really needed. We have one of the Medicare-paid chairs on our back porch. It was used once or twice. It was no good for the house, since the house wasn't built for the large chair. It was no good for outside, since the sidewalks are uneven and poorly maintained. It was no good for my mother, since she was scared of driving it. So it set. I used to keep the battery charged until the cells went bad. Now it just sets like a big albatross on the back porch. The batteries are very expensive.

I tried to get her to donate it while it was still working, but she said no, that she might need it some day. I see wheelchairs at yard sales. Many are donated if someone wants them. I imagine that many people have the motorized chairs just setting in their houses. So Medicare cracked down on it.

Medicare won't cover the cost of a chair to be used outside the home. It's funny like that -- don't ask me the logic. You can talk to her doctor about the possibility of using one inside the home and take it from there. He may write a prescription. You, however, will need to provide any lifts or ramps that are needed to use it outside the home. Ramps are fairly cheap, but the car lifts may cost a bit.

The only chair I've used with my parents is a nice manual one we ordered through Walgreen. It is pretty easy to push. I haven't tried any steep hills with it, though.
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If she lives at home you should look into the NHTD program
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If your doctor writes a prescription for it, yes, I believe that Medicare will cover the cost. Is she on Medicaid? They are two very different programs; Medicare covers all elders over 65 who paid into it; Medicaid is for the indigent, or very disabled in some circumstances.
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