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Updates can help you age in place Need for assisted-living devices increases

November 1, 2015

BY SHAWN CONNER, SPECIAL TO THE SUN

As we age, more and more of us are going to require some sort of assisted living devices and modifications in our homes.

A recent Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. study suggests 85 per cent of Canadians want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, even if there are changes in their health. And that means thinking about ways to prevent injuries, to ease living conditions and to stay mobile — whether outside, or even in our own homes.

“In reality, once we’re 55 and older, we’ve really got to start thinking about our housing environment,” Dr. John Puxty, associate professor and chair of the division of geriatric medicine in the department of medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., told the Financial Post earlier this year.

This could include anything from installing a ramp or stairlift to installing bed rails and bath-and-shower support bars.

The best way to begin planning for home modifications is to go through your home room by room and ask a series of questions to highlight where changes might be made. For instance: are there grab bars where needed? Are doors wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or a walker? Can you get into and out of the bathtub or shower easily?

Of course, the answers will vary from person to person.

“There are no cookie-cutter solutions,” says Ben Hastibakhsh of LifeSupply. A home medical supply company based in Vancouver, LifeSupply provides a full range of assisted-living and other kinds of devices and equipment. “It’s important to find the right solution for individuals.”

The company has a showroom, at 2136 E. Hastings. But LifeSupply also caters to consumers through their website, lifesupply.ca, and through phone consultation and ordering at 855-755-5433 FREE.

In each and every instance, LifeSupply’s experienced salespeople can help customers, whether they are aging or living with short- or long-term disabilities, decide on what products will best suit them.

“We directly engage with consumers, end-users, health-care workers and patients,” Hastibakhsh says.

The company carries everything from baby and child care products to monitors and health tests to medical alarms to equipment like stethoscopes. LifeSupply also carries a full range of assistive living products and safety mobility devices like transfer benches, security poles and bed rails.

Among its more popular products is the Stander Security Curve and Grab Bar. The bar aids users in getting in and out of bathtubs, or getting up from a seated position anywhere in the home.

“It basically prevents falls,” Hastibakhsh says.

As we age, preventing falls — which could lead to long hospital stays — becomes a key element in staying healthy and living well. Research by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. shows that home modifications and repairs may prevent 30 to 50 per cent of all home accidents among seniors.

Many of the bathroom and home safety equipment items, like the Grab Bar, are easy to install. But LifeSupply staff are eager to help when help is needed.

“For more complicated installations, we have the right technician or we can make a referral to install the products at the minimum cost,” Hastibakhsh says.

“We also have some of the lowest prices when it comes to home medical equipment. If you compare apples to apples, you’ll see some of our prices are fantastic. We understand that price is always an issue.”

LifeSupply also carries a wide selection of canes and mobility equipment. “Sometimes people are very mobile but they might lose their driver’s license because of their advance age,” Hastibakhsh says. The LifeSupply staff can help with selecting the right walker, or an item like a combination transport chair and walker.

No one likes to admit to aging, or that they need more help than they did previously. During this transition period, overcoming vanity can be key to preventing injury.

“A lot of falls happen during the transition period,” Hastibakhsh says. “When people go through the transition period, they need to prepare themselves, and to purchase the right equipment, whether bed rails, or the right walker. The right products can help people make the transition as they learn to live with the affects of aging.”

Using this equipment doesn’t mean someone is completely dysfunctional. But its use can make independent living easier and more comfortable.

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