Is assistive technology right for you? Planning and assessment are important parts of deciding whether to use assistive
technology since it can interfere with your current services or the way in which those services are provided.
This assessment is most thorough when it involves many people within your spectrum of support. For instance, if you have
trouble communicating or are hard of hearing, you may wish to consult with your doctor, an audiology specialist, a
speech-language therapist, or other elder care provider to identify your
specific problem and determine the plan that will best address your needs. If assistive technology is a part of this plan,
your team can help decide which devices are appropriate for you, choosing the most effective tools at the lowest cost.
Training to use the devices chosen may also be included in your plan.
When you’re considering assistive technology, it’s helpful to look at both simple and complex solutions to find the one that’s best for you over a range of time. Complex, high-tech solutions may be more expensive, but they’re usually more adaptable if your needs change over time. Simple, low-tech solutions may be cheaper in the short-run, but they aren’t as adaptable. Before purchasing any expensive assistive technology, make sure it can be upgraded to change with your needs and upgraded as improvements are designed. Here are some questions to ask when considering assistive technology for elder care:
Which tasks do you need help with, and how frequently do you need help?
Which types of assistive technology will enable you to be most independent?
Is there a more advanced device that addresses more than one of your needs?
Does the manufacturer have a preview policy so you can try out the equipment and return it for credit if it isn’t
what you need?
How do you expect your needs to change over the next six months?
Is the equipment up-to-date?
Will it likely be off the market in the near future?
Which kinds of assistive technology are available that meet your needs?
Which types of assistive technology have you used before, and how did those devices work?
Will you always need help with a certain task, and can the device be adjusted to fit your needs as your condition changes?
Another important aspect of deciding whether you’d like to use assistive technology is cost and financing. Currently, no single private insurance plan or public program will cover the entire cost of assistive technology under any circumstances, but Medicare Part B can cover up to 80 percent of the cost of equipment that falls under the category of “durable medical equipment.” This includes devices that are “primarily and customarily used to serve a medical purpose, and generally are not useful to a person in the absence of illness or injury.”
Some state-run Medicaid programs also cover some assistive technology. This may help you, but it will not cover the entire cost of buying an expensive device like a power wheelchair.
Other options to pay for assistive technology are private health insurance and paying with your own funds. Paying
out-of-pocket is generally a viable option for simple items like modified eating utensils, but most senior citizens need assistance in paying for more complex devices. Another option is finding discounts, grants, or rebates from not-for-profit organizations or companies that want you to try a certain product that you might not otherwise consider. If you’re looking into this option, you may want to be careful-businesses with commercial interests have the potential to be fraudulent.
Since private health insurance does not cover the entire cost of this equipment, you may want to look into subsidy programs, which can provide some kinds of assistive technology at a reduced cost or for free. For more elder care help you can simply refer to our website at: www.thecaringspace.com