Give seniors option to buy number of grab bars needed

I have yet to see a supermarket sell, say, eight tins of a product for a bundle price of $48 but charge the same price if a customer needs to buy only one tin.

However outrageous this pricing policy might be, I was astounded to learn recently that the Housing Board has been practising it since 2012, when it introduced the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) programme.

Elderly residents with mobility problems can opt for the installation of a full set of eight or 10 grab bars for $48 in their HDB flat. This is fine for those whose disability requires them to get the full set; the price is reasonable.

However, as the degree of disability differs from person to person, some may need only one or two grab bars. What shocked me was that the same price of $48 would apply.

To top it off, despite charging the person $48 for the full set, HDB does not give the remaining grab bars to the senior, who may need them for future use because his disability may deteriorate after a number of years.

I have appealed to HDB to pro-rate the charge for the grab bars like it does for ramps (up to five), also applicable under the Ease programme.

As a government agency, HDB should not foist such a one-size-fits-all policy on seniors with no income.

Steven Lo Chock Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2017, with the headline 'Give seniors option to buy number of grab bars needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe