Assistive devices help the elderly live more independently and safely. Many commonly used devices include canes, walkers, and shoehorns. But there are other assistive aids as well such as sock pullers, raised toilet seats, and removable door handles to name a few. While many of these inventions work great, purchasing them all can bust the budget of a person on a fixed income or family members who are trying to help out.
Not all assistive devices are paid for by Medicare. This is something I’ve been on a learning curve about. Here is a link to a pdf produced by CMS that talks about durable medical equipment (DME), and what Medicare will cover:
For example, a blanket holder helps prevent an elderly person from becoming tangled in the bedding by raising the sheets and blankets above the feet. I cannot find any evidence that Medicare or insurance will pay for them. However, having a blanket holder has been really helpful for Dad because it prevents him from falling onto the floor. The American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) produced a helpful guide listing and explaining various assistive devices. Your can get a free pdf copy of the guide here:
I checked out the prices of blanket holders on Amazon.com. They ranged in price from $20 to $40. While these aren’t particularly expensive, when I added up the price of every assistive device recommended in the aforementioned booklet from the APDA, the price was well over $200. That starts to become real change!
What’s a frugal elderly person or caregiver to do? Well, how about we make a blanket holder? That is what Dad and I did in the attached photo. It isn’t pretty, but it didn’t cost and dime and it works. I took some clip-ring curtain holders I had lying around and attached them to the bottom of the sheet. Then I draped the sheet over the bed frame. Next, I took bungee cords and wove them in out of the bed-frame newels. Finally, I attached the ends of the bungee cords to the curtain holders and drew the bungee cords taut. Viola! Improvised blanket holder in action.
It’s summer right now, and Dad doesn’t need a blanket. When the weather cools, I can use extra curtain holders to attach a blanket the same way as I did the sheet.