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Four Tips to Save Money on Home Equipment!

Are you someone who wants to find the best deals possible for all aspects of life?

Photo of pig by Unsplash!

Photo of pig by Unsplash!

I don’t want to spend a cent more than I have to for anything. I want the best quality services for an affordable, fair price. Whether it’s getting the kitchen sink fixed or the right home equipment for a knee surgery, I’m determined to put in the research to avoid paying more than I have to!

I’ve got student loans and a mortgage, people!

I tend to carry over my thrifty thinking to clients who want to stay in their home. Home equipment, like shower chairs or toilet risers, can make it easier for people to stay independent while toileting or bathing. Sadly, most of the people I help cannot afford to buy brand new equipment. No, your insurance will not pay for this stuff. Nice try! (Medicare will make you pay 20% of equipment rental, but not for every single piece of equipment you need).

The types of home equipment that people need the most include: tub shower benches, shower chairs, hand held shower heads, toilet risers, bedside commodes, bed rails, grab bars, reachers, long handled shoe horns, dressing sticks, sock donners, tub bar clamps, and front wheeled walkers.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are four tips that can help you get equipment you need for little to no cost!

1) Ask Friends and Family

Photo of bandaged leg by Unsplash

Photo of bandaged leg by Unsplash

Did Aunt Rachel just get her hip replaced five months ago? Did your neighbor get better after his car accident last year? Think about the people you know who recently went through surgery or a hospital stay. Ask them if they have equipment they’re no longer using.

If you’re striking out, just ask your relatives or friends if they know someone who might have equipment. Are you on Facebook? Using social media can be a quick, effective way to find what you need. People generally want to help each other out.

Make sure you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If Uncle Ed presents you with a dusty shower chair that sat in his attic for ten months, remember to thank him and power wash that sucker down! I find that rubbing alcohol and diluted vinegar go a long way when cleaning preowned equipment!

Most of the time, you may get equipment that looks less than presentable, but if it’s in good working order then focus on the fact you just saved around $100!

2) Thrift Stores/Yard Sales

If you love shopping, then this tip is for you! You can find an incredible range of home equipment in thrift stores and yard sales!

I’ve personally found bedside commodes and shower benches in almost every thrift store I’ve walked into. Just like anything else, make sure the equipment is NOT broken before purchase.

The great thing about yard or garage sales is asking about the history of the item. Usually, it’s a family member selling the equipment and they can give you an idea of how many people used it and for how long. You could probably even haggle down the price at a yard sale. The sellers typically just want to get rid of excess belongings as opposed to making a huge profit!

3) Contact Local Organizations

This one may require a little bit more research from you. Open up the internet machine and use a search engine to look for these terms: ‘free’, ‘reused’, ‘durable medical equipment’, ‘assistive devices’, and your city and state. Hopefully, you’ll find a couple of organizations that offer a free or reduced price equipment exchange program.

In the Kansas City metro area, take a look at the Kansas Equipment Exchange Reuse Program and Missouri Assistive Technology Recycle and Reuse Program for free home equipment. It’s so worth it to try and get as much as you need through these organizations. Personally, I love paying it forward with donating equipment back to them!

Also contact local churches, mosques, or temples to see if they have a reusable equipment program. You may luck out and receive extra services like home repair or outdoor yardwork for free!

Call up Habitat for Humanity Restore locations to see if they happen to have any grab bars donated. You never know!

4) Social workers/Case Managers and my FAVORITE PEOPLE!

Let’s say you or you’re loved one is rehabilitating in a facility right now and you need equipment before going home. Use those social workers and case managers!!! You’re already assigned one! Ask them for information for free or reduced cost equipment to help you out at home.

If the social worker doesn’t know, then guess what? They work in a department of social workers and can ask others for more information.

Occupational therapists, AKA my favorite people of all time (I’m kind of biased), will usually bend over backwards to help you find what you need. First of all, we’re recommending the home equipment that will help you the most and we REALLY REALLY want you to have it! Please ask us how to help you. It sparks joy in us when our clients sincerely ask about how to find what they need to be independent in taking care of themselves at home.

Photo of Maria Lindbergh, your friendly occupational therapist!

Photo of Maria Lindbergh, your friendly occupational therapist!

Paying full cost for home equipment seems really silly to me when you think about the enormous amount of people who own equipment and aren’t using it. For instance, people over the age of 65 years make up 36% of the U.S. population.

Astounding! Not all 36% of those people are in need in their home equipment for the long term.

By 2030, half of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65, so the needs for home equipment will go up. This means we need to know how to get the most bang for our buck right now! Use those exchange programs and give back! Don’t hoard equipment in the shed or basement!

Tell us your experience with home equipment in the comments below or on Facebook! What do you do to save money while staying safe in your home?