Family need spawns store

Shopping for home care products for an aging relative turns couple into experts

Some of the best ideas are born out of necessity.

Just ask Al and Salma Ladha, who opened Yonge Home Health Care in Lawrence Park back in May.

After growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of help finding the right medical products for Al’s 95-year-old live-in grandmother, the couple started doing their homework.

“We found a lot of time we’d get the wrong product (or) the service just wasn’t there,” he said.

The last straw came when the Ladhas were sold a $1,600 specialized lift chair that was the wrong size for his petite grandmother, and therefore useless to her.

“I said to my wife, hang on a second, there is a huge service gap in this business.”

The Ladhas set to work researching the industry and discovered a huge learning curve.

“It was killer, we stayed up a lot of nights, meeting with different suppliers, learning products, going to different mobility shows.”

Today, Yonge Home Health Care provides bathroom safety and mobility products, like walkers and wheelchairs, sleeping devices, cervical neck pillows, portable ramps and compression stocking and socks.

A general contractor, Al has also parlayed the business into a home assessment and installation service to make a client’s home more accessible.

“Fall prevention is the key,” he said. “You know, don’t go to the dentist after you’ve got a toothache.”

Al said he found the most expensive brand is not necessarily the best.

“There were things that were supplied by a smaller company with a smaller price point which had a design advantage to it,” he said.

Al said many seniors he speaks with feel intimidated, or are worried they’ll get ripped off, so they don’t find the proper care and products.

He and his wife try to find a solution to any problem of accessibility or medical care, even if it means visiting the client’s home or doing more research.

As the boomer population ages, stores like Ladha’s will likely become a growing niche market.

“The boomers just don’t know that there’s certain products available to make their life a lot safer and a lot easier.”

The health care industry is not a foreign concept for the couple. Salma, a skin specialist, is the operator of Yonge Med Spa, located directly above the store.

About this article:

By: Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: Aug 17 2009 3:59 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto