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For Caregivers

March 21, 2016

Get a Vehicle Lift- carry that heavy scooter with ease!

Spring is in the air, and if your plans include a little travel with your new scooter, why not treat yourself to a new vehicle lift to match?

Selecting the right vehicle lift to fit your car, your scooter, your budget plus how much manual effort you can handle can be tricky.                            Outside Power Chair Vehicle Lift

That being said, figuring all that out is not as hard as it may seem if you take it one step at a time.

What kind of car you drive is all important when it comes to fitting a vehicle lift. If you drive a sporty sub-compact, carrying a mobility scooter may be out of the question. Since outside lifts hook on to a trailer hitch, your car has to be able to be fitted with a hitch that is rated for an appropriate tongue weight. Tongue weight is a measurement of the weight a trailer hitch can hold unsupported (there are no wheels underneath for support on a vehicle lift). This is usually 10% of the vehicles towing weight. So for example if your car has a towing weight of 5,000 lbs., the tongue weight would be 500 lbs, and easily accommodate a lift and scooter. On the other end of the spectrum if your car has a towing weight of 1500 lbs., the tongue weight would be only 150 lbs. and not enough for a lift and scooter at all.

Trailer hitches come in different sizes as well. Class 1 and Class 2 hitches have a 1.25 inch square receiver that extends out from the back of the vehicle. Even though they are the same size, the Class 1 hitch will not have the ability to bear as much weight as the Class 2. There is normally a sticker on the side of a hitch that says the class and how much weight it is rated for. Very few vehicle lifts can be used on a Class 1 hitch, they are just not strong enough. Class 2 hitches can sometimes carry 250 or even 300 lbs., so a lift will work on them as long as the scooter weight added to the weight of the lift itself does not meet or exceed the tongue weight. A Class 3 and above hitch will measure an inside diameter of 2 inches square. They are heavy duty, and will be rated to carry the heaviest scooters. Most trucks and SUV’s will be able to handle a class 3 hitch ( or even a Class 4 or 5), which means your vehicle will be compatible with most vehicle lifts.

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March 9, 2016

Now that I need a Power Wheelchair, why can’t I find a supplier?

At Spinlife we hear that question repeated every day, by frustrated insurance beneficiaries just like you, trying to locate a Power Wheelchair supplier.

There isn’t a simple, short answer but I will do my best to explain. Let me add, this information is not intended as a policy statement from Medicare. This is an informational blog post written in plain language to help our readers understand a complex issue.

America’s largest group of insurance beneficiaries are covered under the Federal governments Medicare Plan A and Plan B (Hospitalization and equipment). When coverage guidelines are set by Medicare, the other private insurance companies will follow suit, and change their guidelines to follow those set by Medicare.

For many years Medicare paid for power wheelchairs as Direct Purchases. In other words, if your Physician documented beyond a doubt that you needed a Power Wheelchair to complete your activities of daily living inside your home, they would purchase the chair for you from your local Medicare Provider. Moreover, they would purchase from the Power Wheelchair supplier the chair deemed most appropriate for your individual needs, as long as those needs were also documented medically. Your local Power Wheelchair provider was able to work with your physician to obtain the documentation required to prove medical necessity and supply your power wheelchair.Jazzy 600 ES Power Wheelchair Supplier SpinLife.com

The criterion to qualify changed periodically during those years, and medical necessity gradually became more difficult to substantiate. An unfortunate factor at work was that disreputable organizations were found to be “playing the system” or basically committing fraud against Medicare. Those organizations have thankfully been shut down, but in the aftermath of such activity, Medicare changed the method by which they would pay for Power Wheelchairs. Power Wheelchairs became “Capped Rental” items.

Changing power wheelchairs to Capped Rental items affected both the suppliers of the equipment and you, the beneficiary.  For basic (group 1) power wheelchairs, suppliers are required to bill Medicare and the beneficiary (their co-payment) monthly for 13 months to pay for the equipment.

It’s like a rent-to own arrangement.  During that time, the equipment still belongs to the supplier, not the beneficiary.  After the 13 months is up, they transfer the title to the beneficiary and the item belongs to you. Limited options or customizations are offered on those basic rental chairs, and there is no requirement that the rental chair is new, either.

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February 24, 2016

Product Spotlight: Pride Infinite Position Lift Chairs

Our customers frequently ask for guidance when it comes to purchasing a lift chair, particularly….

“What in the world does infinite position mean and why do I need that?!”

 

First, let me explain what it means. Infinite position chairs are electrically controlled with a wired remote hand control that lifts and reclines them with no effort on your part, save for the pushing of a button. What sets Infinite Position Chairs apart from 2 or 3 position lift chairs is the fact that they have two separate motors that individually control the backrest from the seat and footrest portion of the chair. The hand control has additional buttons allowing you to change the angle of the backrest up and down, and independently change the position of the seat and footrest using different buttons on the hand control. This can be really helpful in mitigating a number of physical issues, and allow for you maximum comfort when relaxing since you can really “fine-tune” the position of your chair.

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February 19, 2016

Mom Needs a Housekeeper: Knowing When It’s Time to Hire Help

If your mom is anything like mine, she takes tremendous pride in her home and keeping it clean, beautiful, and clutter-free.  However, keeping up with household chores can become a tremendous burden when faced with health and mobility issues as we get older. It may be difficult to convince your mother that she needs a little help around the house, but there are a few telltale signs that indicate it might be time to outsource a few cleaning tasks.

Risks of an Unkempt Home

Not only is a messy home a bit unsightly, but it can also be unsafe. Clutter on the floor can cause trips and falls, and contents of an organized closet could fall onto your mom and injure her. Eating off of dirty dishes could make her ill, and wearing unclean clothes can cause skin rashes and infections.

There are varying degrees of household chores, so while your mom may be able to keep up with dusting and dishes, she might need a little help with taking out the trash on snowy days or mopping the floors for spring cleaning. Hoarding has emerged as a serious problem among seniors, so it’s important to manage a household before it gets out of control.

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February 17, 2016

Random Acts of Kindness for Seniors: Thoughtful Ideas and Inspiration

We shouldn’t need a national holiday to be kind to each other, but every little reminder helps us reconnect to the people around us.

A ninety year-old elderly woman shares a garden bench and companionship with here three dogs.

A ninety year-old elderly woman shares a garden bench and companionship with here three dogs.

February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, a day celebrated by people across the country to encourage kind words and thoughtful actions. Small actions can truly make a difference in the lives of loved ones and even total strangers. Seniors have given so much of their lives to helping others in need, so isn’t it time recognize and appreciate all they’re done with our kindness?

Let’s take a look a few of the many ways that you can commit a random act of kindness for a senior today and any day of the year.

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