At first glance, purchasing a wheelchair for an older adult may seem like a fairly simple thing. A family caregiver just goes to a medical supply store and buys one, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of different kinds of wheelchairs to choose from as well as accessories. Which one is right for your family member depends on their particular needs. Choosing the right wheelchair can make the senior more comfortable and can also make the job of being a family caregiver a little easier.
Kinds of Wheelchairs
First, there are two main kinds of wheelchairs: manual and motorized. Motorized wheelchairs are more expensive than manual wheelchairs. Most older adults use manual wheelchairs, but a doctor can help you decide if a motorized chair would be better.
If you decide on a manual wheelchair, there are many kinds to choose from, such as:
-Standard: Standard wheelchairs are the most common kind. They have large back wheels and smaller front wheels. They can be pushed by an older adult if they have adequate upper body strength, or a caregiver can push the chair for them using the handles in the back.
-Lightweight: Lightweight wheelchairs are similar to standard chairs except that they weigh less, usually between 25 and 40 pounds. The advantage of lightweight chairs is that they are easier to lift in and out of a car and work well for people who travel.
-Tilt/Recliner: This kind of wheelchair has a back that reclines, making it useful for people who need at least two people to help them from the chair to another surface, like the bed or toilet.
-Transport Chairs: A transport chair has small wheels in the back and front, so it cannot be propelled by the older adult; it must be pushed by a caregiver. They are useful in indoor settings but don’t work well outdoors.
There are lots of accessories caregivers can purchase to make the wheelchair more comfortable. Some accessories to consider are:
- Seat cushions.
- Cushioned backrests.
- Arm pads.
- Wheels designed for the snow or the beach.
- Removable Headrests.
Does Medicare Pay for Wheelchairs?
If your aging relative has Medicare Part B, a wheelchair may be at least partially covered. The wheelchair must be medically necessary, so the doctor will have to provide a written order for it. If Medicare approves the wheelchair, it is paid at 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount after the senior’s yearly deductible is met. To find out more about how Medicare coverage for wheelchairs works, visit medicare.gov or contact a Medicare representative.
If you or a family member are in need of a Caregiver in Boca Raton, FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770.
Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.