Tag Archives: medical equipment

Holiday Travel Preparation

With the holidays only a few short weeks away, it’s time to get plans for family visits and end of year trips finalized before the busy season is in full swing. Traveling with a disability that requires mobility equipment can quickly become a stressful task if proper accommodations have not been made in advance.  Preparing ahead of time can save you some headaches when it is time to board your plane. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your upcoming vacations:

  • Be sure to inform your airline if you or someone you are traveling with uses a wheelchair, mobility equipment or will need to bring medical equipment onto the aircraft.
  • Ensure you have refilled prescriptions for any medications you may need throughout the duration of your trip.
  • If you need to rent a car, make these arrangements in advance to guarantee a handicap accessible vehicle.
  • If possible, bring any tools you might need in case you experience any issues with your wheelchair. If you have replacement parts, it might be a good idea to bring these along as well.
  • If your wheelchair must be checked for your flight, make sure to tag it as you would the rest of your luggage. Include your name and contact details, as well as those of your hotel or wherever else you may be staying.
  • Staying somewhere other than home can be a challenge so make sure your hotel or other arrangements are accessible by wheelchair (if necessary) and can otherwise accommodate you.
  • Plan to arrive at the airport as early as possible to ensure you have plenty of time to make your way through security and finalize any special accommodations you might require for your mobility equipment.
  • When booking your flights, know that passengers requiring a wheelchair are generally the first to board and last to leave the plane, meaning that connecting flights with short layovers may become difficult.

Despite having to take select special measures, those living with disabilities should not be apprehensive to fly or travel. Airlines have become more and more accommodating and understanding, making this the perfect time to book a vacation and get back in touch with faraway friends and family.

Be Prepared For Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can take place at any moment and can come in any form from floods, severe weather, earthquakes and more, yielding unfortunate outcomes without warning.  Being prepared can save lives and planning is important; know who will help you if you need assistance or if you need to evacuate.

Be Informed
Ensure you have the proper equipment to stay up-to-the-minute on breaking news and changing weather patterns. You may need a radio for this, specifically one that runs on batteries so be sure you have extras. Know when, where and what local branches of organizations like American Red Cross, have planned in your specific location, and find out how they can help. Also, ensure you can maintain contact with those outside of your home, having a phone car charger and jumper cables could be essential.

Make a Plan
For people with mobility challenges, assistance can be crucial.

If are a caregiver, or if you have assembled a “Help Team” to assist a person in need:

  • Be helpful in letting others know exactly what you need and when you need it.
  • Contact family, friends, neighbors or social service agencies if and when possible.
  • Try to have someone available who can lift and carry heavy objects such as wheelchairs or other medical equipment.
  • Give at least one other person a key to the person’s home.
  • Each team member should have the contact information for the others.
  • Name a substitute caregiver in case the original is unavailable.

Develop an evacuation strategy with your “Disaster Team,” and consider the following:

  • Where are the closest special needs emergency shelters and what are the different routes you can take to reach them?
  • What supplies must you take with you that are used every day?
  • Whom should you inform that you are evacuating?
  • How much gas do you have and how much will much will you need? Be sure to keep your vehicle’s gas tank over 1/2 full at all times.

Make a Kit
Assemble your kit well in advance with the help of a list and be sure to include:

  • Water – Keep one gallon of water per person (and per pet) per day for at least three days. Make sure you replace the water every six months.
  • Food – Keep at least a 3-day stock of non-perishable food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration in a safe place. Include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

For those with mobility disAbilities:

  • Pair of heavy gloves to use while wheeling or making your way over glass and debris
  • Extra battery for your motorized wheelchair or scooter
  • Jumper cables or specific recharging device to be connected to an automobile’s cigarette lighter
  • Patch kit or can of “seal-in-air product” to repair flat tires
  • Spare cane or walker
  • Food, medicine, favorite toy, and other care items for your service animal
  • Plastic bags, disposable gloves, and other items for the animal’s care

Find out if you qualify for assistance and fill out a form in advance to ensure your safety should the need arise. And be aware of FEMA resources in your area, including their capabilities and the best way to reach them.

Funding an Accessible Vehicle

For some people living with disabilities, purchasing a handicap accessible vehicle seems like it’s only a dream. With the cost of medical equipment and treatments, raising the funds needed to purchase a van or truck can be challenging. However, there are a number of programs and options available should you need assistance. These rebates and funding opportunities make getting behind the wheel of an accessible vehicle a smooth ride.

Financing
When it comes to financing handicap accessible vehicles, the number of options can be overwhelming. From traditional sources available at dealerships to third party organizations, being able to afford a new van or car will require you to do a bit of research on what the best route is for you and your family. In most cases, however, financing a vehicle can break down payments into manageable monthly installments, making your purchase more affordable.

Rebates
Many manufacturers offer rebate programs to customers with disabilities purchasing accessibility products. Each manufacturer handles their rebate program differently, however most of them grant opportunities to receive up to $1,000 back on vehicle customizations. To provide more information about these programs, we’ve compiled a list of manufacturers with such offers, as well as contact details, on our Rebates page.

Government Funding
From Veterans Administration Agencies to Medicare and Medicaid, there are also government funding options available for those wishing to purchase handicap accessible vehicles. As with any other funding option, prior research is necessary to ensure you qualify for coverage, however your local mobility dealer can go over your options with you and help you make an informed decision.

Fundraising
Reaching out to family, friends and neighbors can be challenging, but is definitely a route to consider. After all, there are not many things that can’t be accomplished when a community bands together. Although it may not be a viable option for everyone, raising funds through donations and sponsorships might make the journey to a new vehicle much easier. Websites like GoFundMe have also made it simpler to rally supporters and accept donations.

With these options, owning handicap accessible vehicles is more affordable than you might think. Be sure to visit a mobility dealer to go over your needs and uncover even more possibilities.

Are You Prepared For An Emergency?

An emergency can range from something relatively small such as getting locked out of your house, to something requiring a lot of preparation such as a blizzard or fire. Making sure you have a plan for as many situations that may come up in your life is the only sure way to make it easier.

Here are some starter ideas for prepping in case of an emergency.

Basic Supplies:

  • One gallon of water per day per person for at least three days
  • Non-perishable food supply for three days (including can opener if necessary)
  • Hand crank radio for emergency alerts
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Local maps
  • First aid kit

If you have a disability, here are some important things to also consider.

  • Pet food and supplies for service animal
  • Medication and medical supplies for at least a week
  • Backup equipment that can run in the event of a power outage
  • Extra eyeglasses, hearing aids, medical batteries, and oxygen
  • Medical records and cards
  • Family records and important documents in a waterproof/fireproof container
  • Operating guide for medical equipment
  • Emergency contacts list

Communicating with Family
Possibly the most important thing you can do to prepare is to talk about it. Share your plan with friends and family so that they are aware of what you will be doing in a certain situation. Giving them a copy of your plans and also copies of operating equipment if necessary will allow them to come to aid if need be.

Finally, make sure you are educated. Learn your local community warning system announcements so that you can be one step ahead. Enroll in assistance programs or find out how to contact them. And be aware as you go about your day. Find out what local hazards are more likely to presents themselves, such as robbery, flood zones, or tornadoes.

Using a few simple steps is all it takes to prep your house for an emergency. Although your plan and preparation might not be perfect, having something is always better than nothing.

Be Prepared For Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can take place at any moment and can come in any form from floods, severe weather, earthquakes and more, yielding unfortunate outcomes without warning.  Being prepared can save lives and planning is important; know who will help you if you need assistance or if you need to evacuate.

Be Informed
Ensure you have the proper equipment to stay up-to-the-minute on breaking news and changing weather patterns. You may need a radio for this, specifically one that runs on batteries so be sure you have extras. Know when, where and what local branches of organizations like American Red Cross, have planned in your specific location, and find out how they can help. Also, ensure you can maintain contact with those outside of your home, having a phone car charger and jumper cables could be essential.

Make a Plan
For people with mobility challenges, assistance can be crucial.

If are a caregiver, or if you have assembled a “Help Team” to assist a person in need:

  • Be helpful in letting others know exactly what you need and when you need it.
  • Contact family, friends, neighbors or social service agencies if and when possible.
  • Try to have someone available who can lift and carry heavy objects such as wheelchairs or other medical equipment.
  • Give at least one other person a key to the person’s home.
  • Each team member should have the contact information for the others.
  • Name a substitute caregiver in case the original is unavailable.

Develop an evacuation strategy with your “Disaster Team,” and consider the following:

  • Where are the closest special needs emergency shelters and what are the different routes you can take to reach them?
  • What supplies must you take with you that are used every day?
  • Whom should you inform that you are evacuating?
  • How much gas do you have and how much will much will you need? Be sure to keep your vehicle’s gas tank over 1/2 full at all times.

Make a Kit
Assemble your kit well in advance with the help of a list and be sure to include:

  • Water – Keep one gallon of water per person (and per pet) per day for at least three days. Make sure you replace the water every six months.
  • Food – Keep at least a 3-day stock of non-perishable food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration in a safe place. Include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

For those with mobility disAbilities:

  • Pair of heavy gloves to use while wheeling or making your way over glass and debris
  • Extra battery for your motorized wheelchair or scooter
  • Jumper cables or specific recharging device to be connected to an automobile’s cigarette lighter
  • Patch kit or can of “seal-in-air product” to repair flat tires
  • Spare cane or walker
  • Food, medicine, favorite toy, and other care items for your service animal
  • Plastic bags, disposable gloves, and other items for the animal’s care

Find out if you qualify for assistance and fill out a form in advance to ensure your safety should the need arise. And be aware of FEMA resources in your area, including their capabilities and the best way to reach them.

Find Financial Resources for Your Mobility Needs

Far too often, you find it hard to afford many of the tools and resources that you need in everyday life. For that reason, there are several alternative ways to get funding that will ensure that you get the assistance you need to live a hassle-free life without worrying about breaking the bank.

Here are a few sources of financial assistance to look into if you are finding it hard to cover all of your mobility expenses.

Medicare:
Usually offered only through private companies, Medicare can be a good option for certain medical devices and equipment and is based on your medical necessity for the goods or services you may need help with.

Medicaid:
While there is no exclusive list in terms of medical equipment covered, cases are approved on a case-by-case basis. Medicaid is a great option to look into if your expenses and needs aren’t covered by Medicare.

The IRS:
Did you know that certain mobility aids such as adaptive driving equipment can be deducted from your federal taxes? Contact your local tax adviser to see what equipment and supplies you use regularly to see if they can be deducted.

State Programs:
Check with your state’s vocational rehabilitation agencies to see if your mobility needs are approved for financial assistance. If any of it helps you get to work or perform your job efficiently, you may be covered here. Aside from that, you may also want to check out your local Center for Independent Living to see if they have any other resources that you can look into for financial assistance.

Vehicle-Related:
If you’ve recently had any adaptive equipment or ramps installed in your vehicle—or, for that matter, if you’ve recently purchased wheelchair van—there are some dealerships that will reimburse you for such things. Check with your local mobility-friendly dealership to learn more.

With these resources at your disposal, you can hopefully stop worrying about money and focus more on living a stress-free life where your mobility needs are easily met.

VA Benefits for Veterans – APPLY NOW

VETERANS

salute

If you need a wheelchair van (driver or passenger) you may be eligible for one at little to no out of pocket cost. We, too, are Veterans and understand your needs.

Click here to begin the VA process and receive guidance on getting your benefits.

The Auto Allowance Grant: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with flat rate federal grant of $19,505.00 towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. This grant is paid to the seller of the vehicle and must be approved by the VA before the purchase.
The Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with funding (approximately $25,000) for equipment and training to enter, exit and/or operate a motor vehicle. This equipment includes but not limited to platform wheelchair lifts, kneeling systems, power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls and braking and digital driving systems.
Non Service Connected Van Modifications: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with funding (approximately $25,000) for non-operational equipment for entry and exit to the van. Issuance of equipment is considered medical and is not included as part of the Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program.

“U.S. veterans make so many sacrifices for our freedoms,” said Doug Eaton, president of VMI. “We’re indebted for their service and believe our disabled vets should have easier access to mobility vehicles. That’s why we teamed up with Paralyzed Veterans and the VMI Select Dealer Network to establish Operation Independence. Through this national program, we’ll help raise awareness of the federal grant money that is available to our vets to help them purchase a new mobility vehicle. We’ll also explain how the national VMI Select Dealer Network can fast track their purchase of a quality mobility van and provide important vehicle maintenance after the sale.”

Operation Independence is a national program developed by VMI and is supported by the Paralyzed Veterans and The American Wheelchair Van Society. A portion of the program will educate veterans about Federal Grant 21-4502, which is available to disabled U.S. vets and was recently increased from $11,500 to $18,900. In addition to the grant, VMI is offering an additional $1,000 coupon that can be used as cash back from the manufacturer or applied toward a down payment for veterans who qualify for the 21-4502 grant and who have not previously taken advantage of the 21-4502 Auto Allowance Grant. The American Wheelchair Van Society will assist all Veterans through the process.

“We’ve found that a number of important government benefits like the 21-4502 program, which provides a grant towards the purchase of a mobility vehicle of their choice, are under-utilized by eligible veterans,” said Al Kovach, National Senior Vice President of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and a former Navy SEAL. “This partnership with VMI’s Operation Independence is so important to as it supports Paralyzed Veterans’ Mission: ABLE campaign which enables severely disabled veterans to secure care, benefits and jobs and rebuild their lives. Together, we can leverage our efforts to improve mobility for disabled veterans by connecting them with the vehicles that fit their needs and ultimately help them achieve the independence and dignity they deserve.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the “Greatest Generation” of World War II. They created a nonprofit organization to meet the challenges head that they faced back in the 1940s — from a medical community not ready to treat them, to an inaccessible world. For more than 65 years, Paralyzed Veterans national office and 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. (www.pva.org)

“According to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, there are nearly 3.5 million veterans who now live with a service-connected disability,” said Doug Eaton, president of Vantage Mobility International. “Many of those disabled veterans struggle to find employment because they don’t have access to reliable transportation. So, in addition to supporting the Paralyzed Veterans of America national tour, we’ve also teamed up with Toyota Motor Sales USA to give all disabled veterans a chance to win a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE with our Access360 In-floor Ramp Conversion. We hope veterans in the Houston area will join us at Adaptive Driving Access in Houston to learn more about our Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest.”

‘The Big Push for Progress’ initiative was developed to honor Paralyzed Veterans and help local communities “take a stand for veterans and their families.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America, which is celebrating 67 years this year, is urging all Americans to take a stand for veterans. “Our disabled veterans face an unemployment rate three to eight times higher than average,” said Bill Lawson, U.S. Army veteran and national president of Paralyzed Veterans. “That’s just one reason I’m asking my fellow Americans to help redouble our efforts for positive change. We need everyone to be a part of our big push for progress.”

Click here to begin the VA process and receive guidance on getting your benefits.

Share this: