Don’t Know One Wheelchair From Another and You Need to Buy One For Your Elderly Parent?

Mom Thanksgiving 2014

Becky, Beverly and Diane

Now and again, I write about my mother, who is 88 and lives in a memory care facility. The picture is of my sister Becky, my mother and me at a Thanksgiving luncheon. My seven siblings and I have helped care for her for the past four years and before his death in 2009, helped our father as his health and strength declined.

We’re not alone and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being able to talk with other people who are also helping their parents. We can learn a lot from each other’s experiences.

The other day, I met Tyrrell Hunter, who for 16 years owned Majors Mobility, a Maine business that sold home medical equipment. Equipment I’m quite familiar with — sidebars for both parents’ beds; a shower seat; walkers; canes; wheelchairs, including a motorized one for my father; special lifting recliners …

I’m fortunate because I live near a Portland store that sells what we’ve needed and has been extremely helpful to me and my parents over the years — Black Bear Medical on Marginal Way in Portland.

Tyrrell closed her store in 2011 and about a year later, her husband became seriously ill. She told me that she spent countless hours on the computer trying to find whatever she could about his condition. He’s fine now, but her online experience got her thinking about the amount of information she came across and how much time it took to sort through it all.

Walker

Source: 10bestmedical.com

“A thought popped into my head,” she said. “What if someone was looking online for home medical equipment? I searched and found 1800 wheelchairs on one site. I looked up bath seats and found hundreds of them. What if someone was trying to find one for their 87-year-old mother? No sites had narrowed down selections or offered items that someone had researched.”

And so … 10bestmedical.com — a website that Tyrrell believes fills the gaps she found — was born. Her business partner is Sean Welton, who has also been in the field for many years and recently sold his home medical equipment business, Community Oxygen and Medical Equipment.

What they think sets 10bestmedical.com apart from other online sites is that they spent nearly a year surveying physicians across the country to find out which home medical products were the most useful for specific medical conditions. They created a top 10 list of the most common medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s, arthritis and Parkinson’s and compiled lists of the products physicians recommended. Next, they went online and data-mined customer reviews.

“It was a lot of work,” says Tyrrell, “but we wanted our site to be researched-based. Our products all have ratings of 4.0 or higher.”

Curious about how they presented their information to people like me, I went to the website. On the home page you have the choice of clicking on products or medical conditions. I chose Alzheimer’s and went to a page that listed product categories that physicians found “most helpful for people who have Alzheimer’s.”

Bath Safety item

Source: 10bestmedical.com

I clicked on bath safety items and then bath stools. Nine stools came up. Below is a screenshot of the page (all 9 stools are not in the shot).

Screenshot from 10bestmedical website.

Screenshot from 10bestmedical.com

“Some people love to do their own research,” Tyrrell says. “That’s not our target market. Our site takes the hassle out and makes it easier for people who don’t have the time to research. That’s what we’re there for.”

POWER_WHEELCHAIR_SUGARLOAF_SKI_LINE-wm

Source: 10bestmedical.com

I haven’t ordered anything from the website, so I can’t comment on how well it works or if I came across any issues. I think it’s a great idea and appreciate the work that’s gone into it as well as Tyrrell’s enthusiasm. I’m passing along the information because I’m sure there are plenty of people who might be interested. If you are, the site is 10bestmedical.com.

Scooter

Source: 10bestmedical.com

You may be wondering about the product pictures I included in the post. They were all taken in Maine by Tyrrell. Can you figure out where in Maine? Post your guesses in the comment section and I’ll put the answers in the upcoming Catching Health newsletter, which I’ll be sending out this week.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.