A very common symptom of any serious illness is “Sticker Shock”. You probably didn’t realize it before you got sick, but medical equipment ain’t cheap. Nobody who is healthy sits down and figures out the finances they’ll need to survive an incredibly rare and frustratingly incurable disease. Well, maybe some extreme hypochondriac would, but we won’t count them in our equation.
Sure you probably understood that big ticket items like Power Chairs are expensive (but then again that Hoveround® commercial makes it seem like the government is practically giving those away!). What you don’t take into account is all those small gadgets you start out with: grabbers, cushions, pill cutters, can openers, canes, etc. – before you move into the mid-range assistive devices: grab bars, wheelchairs, lift chairs, raised toilets, etc. – before you have to go full-out with the home and car retrofitting: permanent ramps, roll-in showers, hand controls in automobiles, stair lifts, etc. etc. etc.!!! You’ll go from $ to $$ to $$$$ quicker than you’d think.
To add insult to injury, just when you are getting hit with these major medical costs it is very likely that you have either retired and are on fixed income, or have had to take short or long-term disability and are making only a fraction of your full income. Oh, joy.
So how do you lower your costs for all this medical equipment? The answer is surprisingly simple. Let someone else take the loss. Just like buying a vehicle (depreciation happens the moment you drive it off the lot) the same goes for medical equipment. Buying used will save you anywhere from 25 – 70% off the cost of goods. We had tremendous success buying a lift chair for Mo using Craigslist. This chair looks like a regular recliner, but in addition to the hand lever it included a handheld remote that operated the motorized frame to tilt and raise Mo. It even included a heat element – a nice feature since immobility can be chilly (we now get why in most pictures FDR usually had a throw over his legs!).
New, a chair like this would run anywhere from $695 – $1200. We were able to find this older Simmons model on Craigslist for $250 (we did have to transport the chair ourselves, but asking a neighbor for help we got it home with no problems). We were lucky to find this chair in such good condition, and it did take looking at a few other chairs priced higher before we found this one. We even had a sort of Goldilocks experience trying out the different models, as some were too soft, some were too short, some were too feminine, etc. We borrowed an upholstery cleaner to freshen the fabric, and although the blue was not ideal for our decor the price couldn’t be beat.
When Mo went into “remission” and we no longer needed it, we then sold the lift chair on Craigslist again. We sold it for $200. The year we used this chair in our home only cost us $50 because someone else had paid the retail for us when they owned it. With just a little planning, a little internet searching, and a little bit of luck you can save yourself a fortune!