Moving forward into a new year perhaps we should take stock of the medical supplies both dispensable and durable. As family members and caregivers alike we know that there are items which are necessary to purchase every week or two. We also know that there are Items which we purchase on a monthly basis and this seems to work well. Knowing where to purchase these was at first a challenge, to get the most economical buy. However we have now mastered this task and are feeling comfortable as we continue along.
However and especially when looking at durable items this is made far more difficult by the price and the number of times we would purchase these items. Items like a scooter or electric wheelchair are not only the first of two different items we must purchase (the scooter or wheelchair, and the accessory to make travel possible, whether a lift or ramp and do we have the right automobile) but the cost is frequently astronomical. So how do we start and who do we believe? You may be looking at the purchase of a hospital bed or an in home elevator perhaps you are interested in a step-in bath or any one of many other items. Maybe you are wondering if it would be more economical to rent the item instead of buying it.
There is absolutely nothing better than word of mouth. Ask the people in the support group or call one of the organizations we have come to depend on for firsthand information. If you call an organization, check out their publications and be sure that the name you are given is not an economic supporter of the organization. Family members may or may not have the time to launch into this kind of a purchase. However, if the client, friend or family member has a Financial Power of Attorney I am sure they will have the time. Another good place to look is www.consumerreports.com . Check out what is www.aarp.org’s thought or rating of the item being looked into. AARP and NARFE both rate items which their population group might need or want. www.narfe.org or 1 800 456 8410 is how to locate your nearest service officer. If you belong to the service organization associated with Veterans Affairs you can also counsel with them (VFW, AL, OPH, DAV and so on). They can all
The one thing most important to any of this is take someone with you, even for a phone consult, and never take the word of a high powered salesman. If you are told there will be some agency come in and pay or reimburse you, check with that agency. This may seem like just another step in a time when each step is a giant one, but if you do this you will know firsthand if that agency will in fact pay. It is also possible that by checking with some of the county or state offices for help, you will find a clearinghouse, if you will, for donated items.