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Many products aid accessibility in home

Home health care manager Renee Henderson shows a rolator, which assists seniors with mobility. A lift chair is in the background. These are some of the many products available to help older people continue to live independently.
Home health care manager Renee Henderson shows a rolator, which assists seniors with mobility. A lift chair is in the background. These are some of the many products available to help older people continue to live independently.

According to the latest information about the nation’s population, by 2031, almost one in four Canadians could be 65 or older.

The 2016 census from Statistics Canada, released in May, noted that new census numbers show seniors now outnumber children for the first time in the survey's history.

And because the number of senior citizens is increasing, the need for items to assist with daily living is also growing.

“Most definitely this year the trend is a big increase in people looking for products to allow them to stay at home,” said Travis Gunn, director of home health care for Lawtons.

He said not enough long-term care beds are available, and he believes people “always prefer to stay in their home rather than move into a facility.”

He said he’s noticing a much greater demand on items to address mobility issues. These include walking aids, such as scooters.

Home health care manager Renee Henderson, who is also a registered nurse, said other popular items are grab bars, lift chairs, rolators (four-wheel walkers), and reachers that help with retrieving items from shelves.

“Things to help you to stay independent and stay at home,” she said. ”People want to be in their own homes and they often don't have what they need to do it safely.”

Henderson said many items are available for purchase or rental, such as electric hospital beds, wheelchairs and walkers. Some are covered through medical plans, and monthly payment plans are also an option.

Gunn said Lawtons has been selling home health care products for about 20 years and,

responding to the increased demand, has expanded to offer home accessibility assessments, along with service and installation.

Because it’s a growing market, new products and new technologies are being developed all the time, and Gunn said there’s not a very high level of awareness about what kind of products are available.

“Generally speaking, people don’t know what they need. They don’t know how to get their mother in the bathtub anymore, unless they’ve seen an occupational therapist.”

Each of the 23 Home Health Care sites, including the New Glasgow location, has trained consultants able to assist with selecting products related to aging at home safely. And they also work in collaboration with clients and their families, and health care providers, to find the right products for each individual.

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