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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

    should diabetics wear 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 and neuropathy can leave diabetics more prone to foot ulcers and injuries that can quickly turn into serious complications. Good foot care is very important when you suffer from diabetes.

    Read on and learn more.

    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 and help to assist 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. But you don't have to settle for boring. Shop for cute and stylish compression socks. 

    What are diabetic socks?

    Diabetic socks are designed to minimize foot injuries and keep the blood flowing.  They can be non binding which means the cuff at the top of the sock won't dig in to your leg and disturb your circulation.  They sometimes have seamless toes and are made from moisture wicking fabrics. 

    Like compression socks, many diabetic socks are available in solid colors. Our non-binding socks come in florals, stripes, argyles and even with pets or nature. Shop men's and women's patterned non-binding socks.

    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. But some people suffer from both poor circulation and from swelling. A recent study found that socks with light compression can improve the edema without worsening circulation in those with diabetes. If you suffer from both edema and diabetes, these lightweight compression socks might be perfect for you.

    Speak to your doctor if you’re concerned about circulation and the fit of your socks. And always keep an eye on your feet if you are diabetic.

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

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    11 Gift Ideas for Grown Ups Who Don’t Want Anything

    gift ideas for older people

    Do you have someone on your list who has everything? Don’t buy them something else that will add clutter to their lives. Instead look to one of these creative gift ideas that they won’t expect.

    1. Netflix Subscription: If your recipient loves to watch TV, a Netflix subscription gives them access to thousand of series and movies. You might even find something you both like!
    2. Grocery Delivery: It is winter in a large part of the country and a lot of people avoid going out in the cold. Make it easier to get groceries by setting up weekly delivery with a service like Instacart or Shipt.
    3. Help Around the House: A Taskrabbit gift card lets them order up help for chores around the house from vetted professionals. From yard work to home repairs to snow removal, Taskrabbit will help them with tasks they don’t want to tackle.
    4. Meal Kit Delivery: Hello Fresh, Plated and Blue Apron deliver the ingredients and recipes needed to cook yummy, healthy meals at home. Everything that is needed is included from meat or fish to vegetables and spices. These services run on a subscription model so you can gift for a short or longer period.
    5. Online Courses: Give the gift of learning with an online course from Udemy or Creativebug. While Creativebug focuses on crafts, Udemy has classes on everything from technology to music and foreign language.
    6. A Ride: Whether they’ve stopped driving or don’t like to drive in the snow and ice, a gift card for a ride service like Uber or Lyft will help your recipient get to their activities, appointments and social engagements.
    7. Museum Membership: Having a membership to a museum usually means free admission and access to tours and events not often known to the public. Whether their interests lie in art, science or history, a museum membership will be truly appreciated.
    8. A Treat: Everyone loves a little pampering. A gift certificate to a local spa for a pedicure or massage will brighten their spirits and make them feel special.
    9. Adventure: A gift card for travel from an airline or tour company will spur them to take that trip they’ve always thought about. Tauck and Road Scholar are two of our favorite tour companies with some amazing trip packages.
    10. A Monthly Treat: Subscription boxes give them something to look forward to every month. From treats from a company like Harry & David to fashion from Stitch Fix, there are so many options out there. Another interesting choice is GrandBox. This monthly delivery features products chosen for those over 65 with an added personal touch like a family photo that you provide.
    11. History: Ancestry allows them to trace their family tree and add to the family story. You never know who you will find in the lineage or where you have your origins.

    If you’re looking for a more traditional gift, shop our selection of curated independence products at Ease Living.

    Happy Holidays!


    Walking With a Cane

    walking with a cane

    You’ve found the perfect cane to keep you moving through your life. But how to use it correctly? Read on to learn how to use a cane properly for the most benefit.

    Is a cane right for me?

    First, know that canes are best for minor injuries and balance issues. A cane is not meant to support a large amount of weight like crutches.

    Make sure your cane is the right height.

    While wearing regular shoes, stand upright with your arms relaxed at your sides. The top of the cane should be level with your wrist. When taking measurements to order a  cane, measure from the wrist joint down to the floor when standing as above. If you’re buying a gift, a good guideline is to buy a cane that is half a person’s height. So if they are 5’5” (65 inches), a 32-33 inch cane will be the right size. Some canes are ordered by height and others are adjustable.

    How to walk with a cane.  

    Hold the cane in the hand on your “good” side (opposite the injury). Take a step with your “bad” leg and bring the cane forward at the same time. The cane and opposite leg should touch the ground at the same time. Take average size steps, you shouldn’t be stepping ahead of the cane or having to catch up to it. If you are using the cane for general balance and not for an injury, hold the cane in your dominant hand.

    Navigating stairs.

    Climb up the stairs by following the rule “up with the good”. Hold to the rail, if available, and hold the cane in the other hand. Put your stronger leg up on the step. Bring up the cane and your weaker leg to meet the stronger leg. When going down the stairs, continue to hold the railing in one hand and the cane in the other. Now it is “down with the bad” The weaker leg and the cane step down first then the stronger leg steps down meet them.

    Tackling curbs.

    Very similar to stairs. When going up a curb, step up with your strong leg then bring up the cane and the weaker leg to meet them. When stepping off the curb, start with the weaker leg and the cane in the opposite hand then step down with the stronger leg.

    Most importantly, don’t rush! And pick a cane (or canes!) that you love so you will never forget to use it as you maneuver through life. See Ease's curated selection of canes here. 

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    5 Reasons to Wear Compression Socks in the Summer

    lightweight compression socks

    Not many of us are excited about wearing socks in summer. So, those compression socks you’ve been wearing per your physician’s advice or for comfort, do you really need them in the summer? Skipping them might be a big mistake, even if it is for just few months. This is especially true when you wear  them for health reasons.

    5 reasons to continue your compression routine in the summer.

    1. Heat can make swelling worse: When you are too hot your veins expand (dilate) which allows fluid to leak into surrounding tissue. This is the body’s natural way of keeping itself cool. But when veins expand it makes it harder for your body to push fluid against gravity back to the heart and it can pool in the lower legs causing more swelling.  

    2. Wearing compression socks prevents open sores and ulcers: Increased swelling can lead to more open sores. Without the support of compression socks, skin tends to becomes thin and irritated. Scratches and wounds then can develop into serious wounds or ulcers that take a long time to heal.

    3. Compression socks can help manage varicose veins: Varicose veins can be painful and ugly. They occur when the veins enlarge and become weak over time. Wearing compression socks improves circulation and can slow down the progression of varicose veins by keeping the veins close to their normal size. So yes, if you want to help those varicose veins, keep wearing compression in the summer.

    4. It makes summer travel more comfortable: It is summer and time to get out on the road! Whether you travel by car, train or by air, wear compression socks to support your legs. It will improve blood flow and make you more comfortable. This is especially useful on flights, when cramped conditions and high cabin pressure can really aggravate circulatory problems.

    5. Fashionable choices are available for summer: Compression socks are available in light fabrics perfect for summer heat and in fun patterns! Shop our lightweight patterned socks here. You will stay cool and comfortable while keeping your legs healthy.

    lightweight compression socks

    Remember that compression socks keep your legs happy! Keep them on whether it is summer or winter, to enjoy yourself without compromising your health.

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    Any questions or comments? Reach out to me here - CONTACT