We accept the CareCredit card. Call to learn more!


Is a Bariatric Electric Wheelchair Right for Your Parent?

Is a Bariatric Electric Wheelchair Right for Your Parent?

Bariatric power wheelchairs have returned independence to thousands of individual living with obesity and limited mobility. Might this also be the answer for your aging parent?

Under the right circumstances, a bariatric power chair may resolve an array of care giving issues. With an appropriate heavy-duty power chair, a mobility-restricted parent may be able to enjoy increased freedom and more independence. This solution would also release the family caregiver from what can sometimes be exhausting, round-the-clock care giving responsibilities.

This article offers some useful guidelines on choosing the best mobility solution for a loved one who may need a bariatric power wheelchair. Because, even though a bariatric mobility chair can provide beneficial assistance to a disabled parent, this special class of power wheelchair isn't meant for everyone.

First, the facts.

Many older adults tend to lose weight and become thinner as they age. However, there is an increasing number of overweight and obese seniors in the United States. In 2007–2008, 32 percent of people age 65 and over were obese, compared with just 22 percent in 1988–1994. And, as with the general population, this seems to be a continuing trend.

The Need for Bariatric Mobility Solutions

Clinically obese individuals have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher1. Research shows that when older adults have a BMI in this range, they are more likely to experience progressive difficulty with conducting routine activities of daily living (standing, walking, performing household tasks unassisted, etc). The potential necessity of a bariatric power wheelchair is clear when independent functioning has been severely impacted by excessive weight.

Medicare (and/or supplemental insurance) may cover the cost of a heavy-duty power wheelchair - when there is a legitimate mobility need and a prescribing clinician documents medical necessity2. Hoveround has two bariatric power chairs that support up to 450 and 600 pounds, with extra-large footplates for more stability. To find out if a bariatric power chair is right for your parent, contact a mobility specialist at 800-542-7236.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or insurance advice. Read our article about Bariatric Power Wheelchair Options for more in-depth information.

1Calculating Body Mass Index, Centers for Disease Control

2Insurance coverage depends on medical necessity as determined by the insurer and a doctor's diagnosis. Valid doctor's prescription is required.

September 14, 2011