Go for full set of grab bars for optimal safety

I refer to the letters from Mr Jimmy Chng Joo Beng (Pricing policy for grab bars a deep concern; May 10) and Mr Steven Lo Chock Fei (Give seniors option to buy number of grab bars needed; April 1).

Following Mr Lo's letter, the HDB wrote to him to explain the pricing for the grab bars installed under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) programme.

The Ease programme seeks to improve the comfort and mobility of seniors living in HDB flats.

Under Ease, home owners can choose a range of improvements, such as grab bars, ramps, and slip-resistant treatment to the existing floor tiles of bathrooms and toilets.

The Ease package was designed with feedback from seniors, and in consultation with healthcare professionals such as occupational therapists.

Specifically, it was established that eight grab bars (for units with combined bathroom/toilet) or 10 grab bars (for units with separate bathroom/toilet) would be needed for effective fall prevention. Hence, we encourage our seniors to take the full eight or 10 grab bars to ensure their safety.

In the commercial market, one grab bar would indicatively cost about $30. To ensure that all seniors can benefit from the Ease enhancements, the Government subsidises up to 95 per cent of the cost. With this large subsidy, flat owners need only pay between $24 and $60 for a full set of eight or 10 grab bars, depending on their flat type.

Given the heavily subsidised bundle prices under Ease, we do not offer further pro-rated pricing for the grab bars.

Nevertheless, HDB will continue to review the package of measures under Ease to ensure that the scheme remains helpful to seniors, and we will take the feedback into account.

For more information on Ease, the public may visit the HDB InfoWEB or call us on 1800-933-2990.

Leow Beng Kiat

Director (Upgrading Programmes)

Housing and Development Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2017, with the headline 'Go for full set of grab bars for optimal safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe