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Mobility and Medical Equipment for Seniors

By Alyssa Ball

When a loved one is transitioning into their twilight years, it is important to identify the basic equipment they need for support and independence. There is a myriad of durable medical equipment (DME) available online, but if you're feeling a little overwhelmed and don't know where to start, let us help. Here is a basic guide to senior DME.

Growing Need for DME

As more and more Baby Boomers, (individuals born between 1946 and 1964), reach retirement age there will be a growing need for Durable Medical Equipment to insure the greatest generation will be able to remain healthy happy and at home. This generation is the largest generation of Americans born in U.S. history. Take a look at these staggering statistics.

Babies born in the US 1946 – Post World War II 1954 – Post Korean War 1957 – The year the boom peaked 1964 – The end of an era
Per year 3,411,000 4,078,000 4,300,000 4,027,000
Per day 9,345.2 11,172.6 11,780.8 11,002.7
Per hour 389.38 465.53 490.87 458.48
Per minute 6.49 7.76  8.18 7.64

As of 2008 there were 77.3 million Baby Boomers. On January 1, 2011, The first of the boomers turned 65. Approximately 2/3 of all seniors 65 and over and 60% of those 50 to 64 have at least one chronic disease.

In December 31, 2029, the last of the boomers turn 65. The 65+ population segment is projected to double to 71.5 million by 2030 and grow to 86.7 million by 2050. With these staggering numbers, the need for DME is expected to increase, which is why it's important to know about the the types of equipment available. 

Types of DME Seniors Need

Portable Toilets

Portable toilets that can be set at the bedside or other locations that are convenient for the senior to access. These toilets limit seniors from walking to the bathroom, especially at night when it's difficult to see. Most portable toilets nowadays are treated with disinfectants to prevent build up of bacteria, mold, and other disease-causing germs.

Our pick: Folding Steel Commode by Drive Medical

This potable toilet can accommodate patients weighing up to 350 lbs. It is incredibly durable but lightweight. This portable toilet comes assembled and doesn't require external tools to set it up. It comes with a commode pail, a cover, a splash guard, and comfortable backrest and armrests. Previously sold as $76.30, But has marked it down to only $38.26!

Canes

With growing old, comes weak knees. So it's important to still gain some ground even just with walking. Uneven areas, obstacles along the way, and slippery surfaces may cause seniors to fall. To maintain balance and reduce risk of slipping, canes or walking sticks help stabilize the body while walking because they reduce stress off the back, hips, ankles, and thighs.

When choosing a cane, make sure you select one with a proper height in a style that suits you. Standard canes are meant to steady balance while offset canes are designed to support more bodyweight. Likewise, the recommended cane length is the distance from your wrist crease down to the ground, when you are standing straight with both arms hanging at your side.

Our pick: Offset Push Button Cane by Cardinal Health

This cane is reinforced with rubber tips that are slip resistant, helping seniors gain more stability and confidence while walking. The height of the cane is adjustable for a more personalized fit. Cardinal Health's Push Button Cane includes a nylon strap to give seniors more grip. The cane can support up to 250 lbs.

If a cane is not the right choice for your loved one, consider a walker, crutches, or a wheelchair. 

Bathroom Grab Bars

It may seem like a minor thing, but bathroom grab bars could go a long way when it comes to assisting seniors when using the bathroom or bathing. Showers can be a dangerous place for seniors. These grip assistants help prevent dangerous slippage that can cause injuries. To make your bathroom the safest place as possible, it is wise to invest on a bathroom grip bar.

When choosing a bathroom grab bar, you should consider the following: 

  • Weight: How much weight can the bar support? Most can hold up to 250 pounds, but the actual limit should be listed on the packaging.

  • Number: How many do you need to install? Research recommends installing 2 bars inside your bathtub or shower, 1 bar near the outside and 1 next to the toilet.

  • Length: You will need to measure your bathroom's dimensions beforehand.

Our pick: Knurled Grab Bar by Invacare

The Invacare Knurled Grab Bar is made with heavy-duty steel construction and does not rust over time. You may mount the bar horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on the bathroom wall. Mounting brackets are included in the package for convenient installation. The Knurled Grab Bar features Soft-Touch FirmGrip technology for a more comfortable grasp of the bar.

Where to Buy DME

Medicare should cover costs for most walking aids with a doctor's prescription, but there are times when insurance won't cover DME. Fortunately, patients have alternatives to paying out-of-pocket for new equipment. Buying used is one option. Many independent living centers can provide listings for used medical equipment, while many online retailers host classifieds geared towards DME.

To give more comfort and safety to loved ones going through this phase, progressive mobility and medical equipment for seniors is vital to help them live their lives as fully as possible. 

Caring Senior Service has the experience, compassion, and training necessary for comprehensive home care, and we also offer a wide range of home care services that are all designed to make life easier for seniors and their families. To learn more about the services we provide, contact us today!

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Alyssa Ball Blog Author

Tags: Senior Products

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