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    How to Best Make Your Home Wheelchair Ready

    how to make your home wheelchair ready

     

    It can be difficult to determine the all of the aspects of making a home wheelchair accessible, especially when a loved one becomes disabled in a matter of weeks or months. There is also the cost to consider in having to remodel several different areas of a home in a short period of time, so cost-efficient measures are of the utmost importance as well as creating an accessible and safe wheelchair ready environment. These are some important things to consider:

    1. Yard Access

    All the walkways and other access surfaces should be checked to see if they are free of bumps or uneven areas. You may have to widen paths to fit a wheelchair comfortably so it will not consistently run over into a grassy or landscaped area. Make sure the surfaces are also smooth but have enough traction to avoid skidding.

    2. Entryways

    According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, all entryway doors need to have a threshold of at least one-half inch in height to accommodate a wheelchair, and it must be sloped or rounded for wheels. There is also the consideration of installing a ramp or some form of incline. This needs to be at least 36 inches wide to comfortably accommodate a wheelchair. There are usually some form or handrails and safety “curbs” on the ramp to avoid slipping.

    3. Floor Plan Layouts

    Consider that a floor plan that will have the most convenience for someone who is wheelchair bound would be an open floor plan with a main floor that has a bedroom, full bathroom, kitchen, and sitting room. Avoid any carpeting that will impede the use of wheels. This includes throw rugs which will inevitably get bound up or shift with the chair’s wheels. Wood or tile flooring is always a better alternative.

    4. Hallways

    These areas should be clear of wider tables, cabinets, and any other types of displays that could make access for a wheelchair difficult. The openings to each hallway also need to be at least 32 inches wide for a standard wheelchair to fit through comfortable whether the person is being pushed or rolling themselves through the entryway.

    5. Electrical Outlets

    If your goal is to make your wheelchair bound loved one as independent as possible, then you may want to consider having the electrical outlets customized and raised to 15 inches above the floor. This could include light switches and other electrical appliances that could be lowered to 48 inches from the floor as well.

    6. Bathrooms

    Since the use of a bathtub is almost impossible for someone in a wheelchair, customized the bathroom and removing the tub to create a shower large enough to accommodate rolling a wheelchair into it. They can also be customized with a seat so that anyone in a wheelchair that hop onto the seat and close the door themselves and use a hand-held shower head. Sinks need to also be between 30-48 inches and allow wheelchairs to be rolled up to them. Toilets can be purchased in taller models as well and grab bars should be put throughout the bathroom including next to the toilet and sink as well as several in the shower area.

    7. Kitchens

    For wheelchair users who intend on cooking for themselves, the sinks, ovens and counters in the kitchen area need to be lowered to the same height as the sink areas in the bathroom (30-48 inches). There are also appliances that are more wheelchair friendly like side-by-side refrigerators with the freezer at waist height as well as the main fridge area.

     

    This is a guest post by Carolyn Ridland, the founder of Caregiver Connection.

     

     

    Why are Compression Socks So Expensive?

     

     

    Why are compression socks so expensive

    Maybe you’ve figured out the benefits of compression socks. Or perhaps your physician told you to wear them. Either way, you’re on board. You looked online or went to a medical supply store and scouted the options. $30+ dollars for one pair of socks?! What is going on?

    First, compression socks are considered a medical device. They are subject to stringent testing and must meet strict standards. Compression socks must have true graduated compression to be medically effective. Graduated compression means a higher amount of compression at the ankle that decreases as moves up the leg.

    Compression socks are also made with specific high quality fibers to ensure that they are comfortable and provide the benefits they promise. The strength and quality of the fibers allow the socks to stay in place, provide gradual compression, be easy to put on and take off and to be comfortable. Compression socks are also available in more sizes than traditional socks which also improves the quality of the compression provided.

    Does Medicare or insurance cover compression socks? Not usually. Click here to learn more. 

    There is a boring explanation for a legitimate question. Compression socks are worth it if they help your health and provide comfort for you to keep moving and doing the things you love. And don't settle for boring black and beige compression socks. There are plenty of options that will make not only your legs, but also you happy. See Ease's collection here. 

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    Does Medicare Cover Walkers & Canes?

    does medicare cover walkers and canes

    You’ve been feeling a little weak or unsteady lately and have decided to do something about it before it becomes a problem. Or maybe your doctor, therapist or child took a look at you and said, “Guess what? We are getting you a walker or cane.” Before you guffaw and so “NO WAY!”, take a step back and give it some thought. If a walker or cane keeps you independent and safe, it is probably a good idea. If you’ve had surgery or an injury, you might not have a choice.

    Will your cane or walker be covered by Medicare or insurance? It depends. And it is complicated.

    What does Medicare cover and how to make the claim?

    Medicare Plan B and Medicare Advantage Plans cover renting and purchase of walking aids like canes and walkers. But there are certain conditions to satisfy to receive coverage for the device.

    First, you must produce a prescription for the walking aid from a doctor who participates in Medicare. The prescription should confirm that your mobility impairment prevents you from doing daily activities as you should. In other words, it should suggest that the equipment is medically necessary to help you move independently. It should also state that you will be able to  use the equipment safely, without any danger of accident or injury.

    Once you have this prescription, you can buy your walker or cane from a medical equipment company that participates in Medicare. Not all medical supplies stores do participate in Medicare so make sure you call first. The DME (Durable Medical Equipment) company will direct you to walkers and canes that are approved by Medicare, and you can choose from these options. You will have to provide your insurance details to the supplier and fill out some forms to complete the purchase.

    Coverage under Medicare Plan B is 80% of the Medicare-approved cost or rent of an approved device. However, the actual amount you have to pay will depend on the type of Medicare coverage you have. Under Medicare Plan B, you will have to make the 20% co-pay from your pocket. If you have a Medicare Advantage Health Plan or Medigap insurance, it might cover the co-payment amount as well.

    Many people choose to buy a cane or a walker without a prescription as they decide they don’t want the hassle or dealing with Medicare or don’t like the Medicare options that are available. There are so many choices available when looking outside of what is covered by Medicare. You can find something that fits your style and your needs, which might make it more likely to be used instead of sitting in the closet.

    Ease Living offers a curated selection of canes, walkers and accessories here. Products chosen by an occupational therapist for their utility and for their style.

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    Diabetes and Compression Socks

    diabetes and compression socks

    You have reached the point in your life where you have learned that socks aren’t just socks. They can actually serve a purpose and help or hurt your health. I get a lot of questions about diabetic socks vs compression socks. Are they the same? Should diabetics wear compression socks?

    Some answers.

    Diabetic patients have a high risk of developing serious foot problems. Circulatory issues are common leaving diabetics more prone to foot ulcers and injuries that can quickly turn into serious complications.

    So, good foot care is very important when you suffer from diabetes.

    If you are diabetic, your physician may recommend special socks for the health of your feet. So, should you wear compression socks or diabetic socks? How are they different?

    Let's compare them and find out.

    What are compression socks?

    Compression socks are tight-fitting socks that apply gradient pressure to the feet and legs to improve circulation.These socks prevent pooling of blood in the feet and lower legs assisting the blood back up the veins to the heart.

    They are often recommended for management and treatment of varicose veins, muscle fatigue, edema and other circulatory problems.

    Compression socks are often plain colors like white, beige and black. Shop for cute and stylish compression socks. 

    What are diabetic socks?

    Diabetic socks, unlike compression socks, offer little to no compression benefit. They are non-binding soft socks designed to prevent foot injuries that affect diabetic patients. These loose-fitting socks sometimes have seamless toes and are made of materials that do not irritate skin.

    Diabetic socks are designed with moisture wicking properties that keep the feet dry to avoid infections. They protect the skin of your feet, but do not help with circulation problems. 

    You don't have to compromise your style because you need diabetic socks. Shop men's and women's patterned non-binding socks.

    So, you can see that diabetic socks are very different from compression socks and that they offer opposite benefits.

    Can diabetes patients benefit from use of compression socks?

    Compression socks are effective in managing conditions like edema and venous insufficiency that affects diabetic patients. But tight compression socks can restrict blood flow in the feet which is a problem area for diabetics. So compression socks are not typically recommended for those with diabetes.

    However, if you are diabetic and your physician feels the benefits of compression outweigh the risks - for you -, compression socks will work with careful monitoring of your feet for increased swelling and for any sores.

    See Ease Living's curated selection of compression socks and diabetic socks for options far beyond boring black and beige. 

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    Does Medicare Cover Compression and Diabetic Socks?

    does medicare cover compression or diabetic socks

     

    Did your doctor tell you that you should wear compression or diabetic socks? What is this all about?

    Compression socks are often prescribed for varicose veins and leg swelling. They are also great for preventing that tired and achy feeling you experience when you're on your feet all day. Compression hosiery is also recommended after surgery if you must stay in bed for a long time.

    Just like compression socks, diabetic socks are specially designed to provide comfort and protection for the special needs of those with diabetes. Diabetes often leads to circulation problems, especially in the legs. Socks that don’t dig in to the legs and impair circulation are so helpful for preventing foot ulcers and for comfort.

    Since your doctor prescribed these socks and said they are important for your health, they must be covered by Medicare right?

    Nope. Medicare and most medical insurance plans do not cover compression or diabetic socks. Even with a prescription from your doctor they are a non-covered service.

    There is one exception. If graduated compression stockings are specifically prescribed for treatment of open venous stasis ulcers, they might be covered as they may be seen as wound dressings. But there are certain conditions to meet. Medicare will only cover the cost of gradient compression stockings that are worn below the knee and deliver compression greater than 30mm Hg and less than 50mm Hg. The coverage doesn't apply to compression socks prescribed for treatment of circulation issues, varicose veins, or to prevent ulcers.

    Always contact the insurance company to confirm whether or not you have coverage before making your purchase.

    Given this, why not buy compression and diabetic socks you like instead of the ones presented to you at the medical supply store or corner drug store? At Ease Living we sell socks that would be at home on the runway and that would make your doctor smile. Click here to see the collections of compression and diabetic socks you will want to wear right here.

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