Home mods: 'Small things can make a big difference'

Friday, February 21, 2014

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Modifying a home so its residents can age in place can be pricey, but Handi Medical Supply hopes a new approach will open up the option to more seniors.

“Sometimes people don’t want to do a home renovation—it’s such a big thing,” said Lori Tomaszewski, chief marketing officer. “There are small things you can do that make a big difference.”

Handi Medical Supply offers a full line of HME and, in early March, launched a home modifications division in an effort to expand its cash business.

Offerings include anything from grab bars for the bathroom to mirrors for above the stove—products designed to keep clients safe from falls and able to conduct activities of daily living. 

“The sky’s the limit,” said Lloyd McIvor, an assistive technology practitioner (ATP) who heads the new venture.

Handi Medical will charge $100 for each home assessment, during which McIvor, using his past experience assessing homes for wheelchair use, will go through a client’s home room-by-room to make suggestions.

“It’s all about the details—not just will the wheelchair fit through the door, but are they able to transfer to the toilet?” he said. “What do they want to be able to do in the kitchen? I want to identify hazards and make sure if there’s a way to do something to make them safer, we will.”

Handi Medical added the service after numerous requests from clients, said Tomaszewski. She expects the customer base to be children of elderly patients trying to help their parents remain safe in the home. 

“Kids see their parents are not doing the same things they used to, and their quality of life is getting less and less,” she said. “They want their parents to keep active, and keep them at home where they want to be.”