Importance of Mobility and Medical Equipment for Seniors



Old age takes a toll on our minds and body. A lot of people who are dealing with aging require mobility assistance and medical equipment for moving independently and for keeping healthy. In case you are a senior or a primary caregiver, then you must know the significance of mobility and equipment.

Read Also: Is Non-Emergency Medical Transport the Right Choice?


Offers Independence


One of the biggest reasons why so many seniors invest in medical and mobility equipment is because these tools help them stay independent and assist in taking care of every need. Most seniors don’t like the idea of being dependent on other people to complete a basic yet necessary task such as running an errand.

When older people are forced to remain confined to their homes, a lot of issues like self-loathing, self-doubt, and even depression crop up. The family should keep an eye on them to make sure that they can go wherever they wish and meet whoever they like.

Prevents Further Damage


In case a senior has weak legs and uses a walker, he or she is likely to put less strain on the muscles by using a wheelchair access van. A van that can easily fit a wheelchair will ensure that the person will not have to put excessive weight on his body while getting in or out of the car.

Avoid Discomfort or Pain


This is certainly one of the biggest reasons that warrant the use of mobile devices for seniors. These vehicles or tools assist in avoiding unnecessary discomfort or pain.

Saves Cost and Time


A big advantage of hiring vans offering mobility and medical equipment is that it permits a person to save on cost as well as time. How? It helps in saving cost because hiring a wheelchair access van as opposed to buying one saves thousands of dollars. It also saves time as the patient will not have to depend on a family member to help them.

Such vehicles also help in avoiding accidents that may put the patient in the hospital. We are all aware of how expensive and time-consuming a visit to a doctor can be. 

Read Also: Walker Transport and Their Benefits


Ease of Travel


Also, a mobility equipment provider will assist the elderly and make sure they travel comfortably. When the patients follow simple guidelines for traveling, they can commute easily and even travel long distances. Traveling helps seniors learn new things and keeps them feeling happy. In fact, doctors often advise those who are feeling gloomy or sad to go out. In case you or someone you know who is not in their prime years is feeling lonely, hire a non-emergency medical transport, and travel to a new destination; this will certainly help build a sense of adventure and enthusiasm for life.

Is Non-Emergency Medical Transport the Right Choice?
















Healthcare is essential for every section of the population. However, certain sections of the population face transportation issues and have trouble getting to their important medical appointments on time. Some depend on friends and family or local organizations for transport while others have to drive on their own. If transport options are limited, non-emergency medical transportation can help fill the void. Listed below are a few scenarios where NEMT is useful.

Read Also: Different Types of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation and Their Benefits

For Regular Check-Ups


It is not just a vulnerable demographic that is affected. Someone who is usually healthy enough to drive around but is waylaid temporarily due to a surgery or an acute injury may require non-emergency medical transportation. Patients who are recovering from surgery are not allowed to drive till they are cleared by their doctors, this is true even if the surgical treatment did not involve hands or limbs. The reason being surgery can weaken the muscles required for driving a car and pain medication can make driving unsafe. In such cases, alternate arrangements will have to be made. It is impossible to board public transport with a cast. For most, driving on their own is also impossible. For them, NEMT is the solution.

For Running Errands


As discussed earlier, people with disabilities or temporary injuries find it hard to travel on their own for errands and can use NEMT. Grocery shopping, picking up laundry, visiting a relative, etc. can easily be done by calling for a non-emergency medical transport vehicle.

When Family is Busy


Often, the patient may not have anyone to assist him. When there are no family members or loved ones to take care of transportation needs, non-emergency medical transportation can come in handy. These services offer independence to patients and make it easier for them to meet appointments as well as complete daily chores.

For the Physically Disabled


The physically disabled need specially made wheelchair accessible vans. Unfortunately, these vehicles are not cheap. They come with a hefty price tag making it impossible for the middle class to buy them. For such a demographic, hiring a NEMT service is the best idea. There are plenty of service providers to choose from as per your needs and budget. 

Read Also: Walker Transport and Their Benefits

Benefits of Non-Emergency Medical Transport


NEMT has several benefits. Here are a few of them:

Independence: The biggest benefit of using non-emergency transportation is that it gives patients the freedom to move. They can easily reach their scheduled appointment without inconveniencing anyone.

Equipped to Fit Wheelchair: Most non-emergency medical transportation vehicles have the gear to handle a disabled patient in a wheelchair. It takes care of transportation for people traveling in a wheelchair and can be extremely inexpensive for them to use. In fact, in a lot of cases, such transportation is covered by insurance.

Non-emergency medical transportation is certainly becoming an essential service within the arena of healthcare. Thousands of individuals schedule NEMT travel every day. Without this service, a lot of them would not be able to attain the medical services important to their health.

Walker Transport and Their Benefits

People who suffer from walking difficulties, seniors, and those with injuries often have a hard time staying mobile. A solution to this problem is to use a walker. Walkers come with various features that cater to different types of requirements. They are also often used by non-emergency medical transportation companies as an add-on service for their passengers.

Walker Transport and Their Benefits

Here are a few types of walkers and their specialties:  

a)     Height Adjustable Walkers:

If you are using a walker, this means that you experience discomfort while walking. However, if you end up choosing a walker that does not eliminate your discomfort, then there is no use in having one. Thankfully, there are numerous manufacturers who recognize the need for customization according to different heights. For this, there are walkers that have levers to adjust the height. Irrespective of whether you are a child or an adult, by merely pushing a button, the walker’s height can be adjusted for maximum comfort.

b)  Wheeled Walkers

For easy maneuvering, some walkers have wheels attached to their front legs. Others come with wheels on all four legs. They work best for those who get fatigued easily.

c) Foldable Walkers

At times, you may have to carry your walker while traveling. For those who travel frequently, using a walker that is easy to carry is the best decision. A foldable walker is an ideal choice.

It can also be wrapped easily for transportation or storage. By pushing a button, you can fold it up and store it in a storage area, or even in the car.

d) Hemi Walkers

These walkers work best for people who require extra support. One can lean towards one side in these walkers. It is best for those with little or no movement on one of their arms or hands.

Benefits of Walkers:

1. Easy Maneuvering

People with issues moving can overcome their mobility issues easily thanks to walkers. In case you love to go out for errands or walks, a four-wheel walker that has bigger wheels can do magic.

2. Rest

A lot of walkers also have seats. Whenever you get tired during the stroll, just put on the brakes, take a seat and relax till you feel like moving again.

3. Self-Reliance

A walker will not just support you physically but will also give you the confidence to go where you want to without asking for anyone’s help.

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Age certainly takes a toll on our health. A lot of seniors get fatigued quickly; they also suffer from problems that reduce their endurance. These conditions could be:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Hip problems
As mentioned above, the advantages of using a walker are several. Whether you are having trouble moving around comfortably due to age, disability, or illness, a walker can help you out. Most non-emergency medical transportation providers offer walkers to patients to make sure that they do not have to walk to and from the vehicle without support. This ensures a comfortable journey and experience.

Different Types of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation and Their Benefits

When we think of medical transportation vans, we normally visualize flashing lights along with loud sirens as the van rushes to save a life. However, there is also a non-emergency side to medical transportation. The medical fraternity has realized the need for a more organized system for handling patients afflicted with illnesses and injuries that are not an emergency.

From being equipped to administer emergency care for patients dealing with acute medical issues, to helping the ones with injuries travel back and forth from their medical appointments, non-emergency medical transportation services tend to the entire population. There are a range of medical transportation services equipped and designed to handle specific situations. Here are a few you should know about.


Non Emergency Medical Transportation


Basic Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

Basic non-emergency medical transport offers a level of medical care which is good for patients with illnesses or injuries that are not very serious. The vans are driven by trained professionals. A transport like this is primarily for those who require non-emergency medical transportation with essentials such as wheelchair access, first aid kits and the like. This service is also ideal for patients who have undergone surgery or are weak and ailing, but are not in need of cardiac monitoring or advanced support.

Advanced Vans

Advanced vans are equipped with an oxygen cylinder, an ECG machine and a monitoring device. These vans are mainly used for those patients who suffer from ailments that can get serious at any time and for those with problems that may require respiratory support and oxygen. Equipped with such progressive features, these vans are better equipped for handling life-threatening situations.

Patient Transport Vans

Patient transport vans transport people to and from medical facilities and cater to care which is completely non-urgent, for instance, visit to the dialysis center or hospital. For such cases of non-urgent treatment, these vehicles are used. They are equipped with proper seating for the patient apart from other basic devices and enough seating space to accommodate an extra person with the patient. These vans help the patients by making their journey comfortable.

Non-emergency medical transportation has seen several advancements over the years. They are extremely useful in situations when a patient has to be moved from one town to another, or from a very distant, remote location to a more metropolitan space. However, it is very important to hire the right provider to ensure a comfortable journey. They must be reputed for on-time reporting, swift response and quick dispatch. Good providers are always on time and are also skilled in handling patients. One of the best ways to find good providers is to ask family and friends for suggestions as well as search on the internet by visiting various forums. Also, you must shortlist at least three providers and compare their services and pricing to decide on one that suits you the best.

Transportation Options for Older Adults

As we age, it becomes inevitably harder to get around without help. This is particularly true if medical issues necessitating special attention crop up. Fortunately, there are numerous ways for seniors to move around nationally, internationally and even just locally.

To begin with, senior citizens who do not feel comfortable driving can depend on family members. In case family is not around, there are many other options. Some of the examples include non-emergency medical transport, public transportation, senior shuttles and volunteer services to name just a few.

NEMT Service


Home Care Aides and Caregivers:

If someone does not have any family close by, they can think of having a home care aide or a caregiver to provide the required transportation, whenever needed. A lot of at-home caregivers also agree to chauffeur. Apart from home caregivers, one may also hire people who are specialists in transporting senior citizens. One can seek out such professionals by getting in touch with dedicated local agencies offering home care. In case you decide to take this road, make sure that the agency you choose holds proper background checks and screens every employee before hiring them. This is extremely important for your safety and for avoiding potential conflict.

Public Transportation

Another very popular way of moving around, particularly for those who reside in crowded cities is by using public transport. You may have access to light rails, buses, subways, shuttles and more. A benefit for older people is that local transportation systems, a lot of times, offer discount coupons or discounted fares. The cost of transportation may vary depending on the distance. However, it is normally subsidized. Buses can typically accommodate mobility scooters and wheelchairs. Some will also permit non-disabled persons to accompany elderly with no charge.

If public transportation seems a bit overwhelming, do not worry. There are several other options you can consider!

Non-Emergency Medical transportation services

In case you suffer from mobility issues or have a disability, non-emergency medical transport is your best bet as it is designed to handle seniors and their problems. Numerous agencies offer such transportation to seniors and those suffering from disabilities. They are equipped to handle all kinds of needs, even wheelchairs. Non-emergency medical transportation services can be scheduled beforehand. They offer pickup and drop off services.

Volunteer Programs

Such programs are normally run by non-profit organizations with a team of volunteers providing transportation for older people to visit the doctor's office, go shopping and more. Reservations are needed, but normally the service is extremely cheap, if at all there is a charge. The organizations encourage donations from users, if their pockets allow.

There are numerous things you must consider when picking the right transportation mode for yourself and also your loved one. The decision should depend on a range of different factors such as the residence location, age, disability and the like. When choosing a private transport make sure you choose wisely after going through the track record of the company and its reputation in the market.

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Using Crutches After Surgery or Injury

Medical conditions of the leg are among the most common. They range from sprained ankles to damaged ligaments and tendons, joint replacement and fractures. Whatever be the cause, in most cases doctors tell patients to start walking as soon as possible after surgery/treatment. This will help to strengthen the injured leg and speed up the recovery. Walking support is usually required for a few weeks after any major leg surgery or injury. The most convenient way to get this and maximize mobility is for the patient to use crutches.

Non Emergency Medical Transportation

Walking

Walking with crutches takes a little getting used to. These tips will make the process easier:

• Adjust the crutches to your height. The handles should be alongside your hips and the top should be about an inch below your armpit.

• Let your forearms and hands carry your weight, not your armpits.

• Keep your elbows bent so there is no excess pressure on the elbow joint.

• Except on stairs or uneven surfaces, keep your eyes focused ahead of you and don’t look down at your feet.

• Keep the tip (bottom) of the crutches around 3 inches away from your feet at all times so you do not trip over them.

• Place the crutches about 1 foot ahead of you, lean on the handles and move your body forward. Let the crutches take your weight. 

• Move your strong leg forward and then bring up your injured leg.

• Do not step forward with the injured leg first as this will place a strain on it.

• Repeat this motion to continue moving ahead.


Driving

Walking with crutches becomes easier with practice. However, when it comes to traveling long distances, the crutches can only get you to your car door. They cannot help you to drive. Even if you can clamber into the driver’s seat and are able to use your right leg for the pedals, any sudden movement or jerk could cause pain in the injured leg which could make you lose concentration. This could, in the worst case, result in an accident. The bottom line is that it is safer to avoid driving until you can discard the crutches.

So how do you travel? Taxis may not always be available when you need them. Using public transport can be unsafe because of the problems in entering and exiting buses and trains while on crutches. But you may need to travel to see your doctor, for work, for social occasions, or even just to go to the movies. The right way to move around town is to use Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT). NEMT is a special service for those who have medical conditions that affect heir mobility and do not permit them to drive themselves. This is not an ambulance service which is only for an emergency. NEMT provides specially equipped vans and drivers to transport those with medical conditions where they want to go. Getting in and out of the vehicles is easy and the drivers are trained in transporting those with mobility issues. You can call for an NEMT vehicle when you need it or schedule a trip in advance. The availability of doorstep pickup, event standby and other conveniences make this the best way to remain mobile until you can safely drive again.

Has Age Affected Your Driving?

For almost everyone, driving is an essential part of life. The ability to go where you want, when you want to, is important, but perhaps even more so is the feeling of independence that it creates. As long as we feel we can function independently, we are strong and confident. Take away this feeling of independence, and we feel weakened and insecure because we are dependent on others to take us where we want or need to go. Buses, taxis, and subways may not be workable alternatives because of mobility or other age-related problems, and the passenger does not feel he’s in control he when he’s not driving. This is something that many seniors feel when they stop driving.

Medical Transportation


While there is no defined age at which a person must stop driving, there is no denying that increasing years and health issues affect a person’s ability to drive. The eyesight, strength, and reflexes of an 80 years old are not the same as when he/she was 18. Going to the DMV and getting a driving license renewed does not automatically mean that an elderly person is able to drive safely. Medical tests and checkups are not 100% accurate and often there are health issues that they do not detect that could make driving dangerous.

Warning Signs

In addition to a normal checkup, if you notice any of these signs of driving issues, you should discuss them with a health care professional who will be able to advise you if you should continue to drive:
  • Increased frequency of close calls, fender benders and scrapes against other cars or stationary objects.
  • An increased volume of traffic tickets or citations
  • Difficulty maintaining focus on traffic
  • Difficulty in accelerating or braking smoothly
  • Difficulty in viewing distant objects which was not an issue earlier
  • Problems in hearing sirens, car horns, etc.
  • Problems in remembering frequently traveled routes
  • Increasing anger and irritation when driving in traffic
  • Confusion in using the various controls – not just brakes and accelerator but turn signals, lights and so on.
Independence With Driving

If you, or a loved one, are no longer able to drive, the world does not come to an end. For those with health or age-related issues, there is another way to remain mobile and independent. Even if health does permit the comfortable use of public transport, it may not be available when you want it to take you to where you need to go. A far more convenient, safe and comfortable option is to use Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT). NEMT is not an ambulance service so there are none of the negative connotations of ambulance travel. NEMT companies provide specially equipped vans to transport people with health, mobility problems or physical conditions caused by advancing years thus providing them a way of maintaining their mobility independence. A professional NEMT company will have specially trained drivers and offer doorstep pick up and drop, event standby and other services that will replace the need to drive. Whether it is to meet all local travel requirements or only on those days when a person does not feel physically or mentally up to driving, NEMT is the right way for those who are physically unable to drive to maintain their mobility independence.