In Landmark Decision, Medicare Decides to Cover Seat Elevation in Wheelchairs 

This single decision by Medicare will positively impact the lives of many, many people. Until very recently, seat elevators were usually denied in the US. That is because this feature was automatically denied by Medicare, and almost all other medical insurers follow the lead of Medicare in their decision-making (with a few exceptions). 

As a result, it has usually been only wealthy clients who could afford to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket or those with exceptional insurance that were able to have this capability included in their wheelchairs. As Medicare only covers 80% of costs, the responsibility of the remaining 20% will fall on any secondary insurance a client has or will still be private pay. However, this will still significantly reduce the cost to clients for seat elevation, even if they are paying out-of-pocket, making seat elevation much more within reach for many people who would benefit from this capability.   

Wheelchairs with seat elevators allow people to raise and lower themselves in their wheelchairs. Why is this important? It allows people to adjust their wheelchair to meet the demands of the environment around them. It allows people to reach into cabinets, to socialize with other people at eye level, to be less likely to be hit by a car or truck when crossing the street, to more easily and independently transfer in and out of their wheelchair, to sit at the appropriate height under a table, etc.  

Here is a great video that makes it easier to visualize the positive impact of seat elevation: 

A Day in the Life: Stephanie Woodward 

When a wheelchair does not have seat elevation, the rest of the environment has to be adapted to accommodate the height of the wheelchair or else the person using the wheelchair will be much more limited in what they are able to do independently. Seat elevation eliminates many of those needs and modification costs and also makes traveling much easier. This single decision by Medicare will have such a positive impact on so many people in the US. 

Medicare has stated that they will also be considering the issue of standing frame power wheelchairs separately.  

Here is the link to CMS’s announcement of this decision.  

How to Avoid Getting Burned While Cooking

When you want to take something hot out of the oven, what do you grab? A pot holder or trivet? A dish rag? So many people grab whatever is nearby that will sort of get the job done because it’s easier, but it’s just not safe. Grabbing that nearby dish rag will increase your chances of getting burned or dropping your food and dishware onto the floor. We want you to be able to stay as safe and independent as possible for as long as you can, which is why we wanted to tell you about these silicone oven mitts, which we love.

We used to use standard oven mitts and they worked most of the time. But we often burnt holes through them and every once in awhile they even caught on fire. Even when we did not burn holes through them, I noticed that my hands often felt really hot when I was using them, like I was about to get burned even with my hand inside the mitt. At other times, I noticed that Becki would just grab a dish rag to get things out of the oven because it was right there. As an occupational therapist, this got me really worried because I could see how easily this scenario could end badly.

Then, one day, we discovered these silicone oven mitts and they made things so much easier. We actually still have the same ones that we originally bought, because they have never gotten holes in them or caught on fire! These oven mitts are made from 100% silicone on the outside and they have some texture added to them. This makes it much easier to grab and hold onto objects than when you use a regular oven mitt. These silicone mitts are heat resistant and safe to use for cooking up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which should cover most of the cooking that people do. I cook a fair amount, and I have never needed to cook anything higher than 450 degrees. (However, if you do cook at higher temperatures, you will need to look into other options!) These oven mitts also have 100% quilted cotton on the inside and our hands have always felt protected when we use them. They are also easy to clean. I usually just use a soapy sponge to wipe the outside, rinse them off, and then hang them on a hook or leave them in the dish drainer to dry. While nothing can guarantee that you will not get burned or drop hot items onto the floor, these oven mitts can significantly reduce your chances of having those things happen. However, if you have any specific medical conditions that might make these mitts challenging to use, we recommend that you consult with a doctor or occupational therapist about your specific situation.

Ability Action Aging In Place Silicone Oven Mitt

We love these and we hope you will too. If you want to give these a try to see if they will work for you, you can find a link to them here. We hope these will keep you cooking safely and independently for a long time to come!

If you decide to try out these oven mitts, make sure that once you get them, you also find a safe place to keep them that’s close to your oven and easy to reach. Making it as easy as possible to grab these instead of something else will increase the chances that you will use them and stay safe!