Rebekahs loan mobility supplies

Pictured seated in a wheelchair and a walker from the Humanitarian Services Committee inventory are Bessie Smith (at left) and Sylvia Bruley. Standing are (left to right) Kathy McArthur holding a crutch, Win Wilson holding a reacher, Bev Stone with an arm support.

A committee of five Silver Lake Rebekah Lodge members are performing a wonderful community service that is available to all residents.
The aptly called Humanitarian Services Committee consists of Chair Bessie Smith, Secretary-treasurer Win Wilson, members Kathy McArthur, Sylvia Bruley, Bev Stone. They operate the Lodge’s sick room equipment loan service. They estimated this week that the service was established about 50 years ago. They each have many years of volunteering to ensure this much-needed community assistance is available.
I have written about this loan service previously, but with Port Dover’s increasing population, it seemed timely to tell about this helpful community benefit again.
In a room at Port Dover Lions Club’s community building (market location on Saturdays) the committee manages hundreds of items for loan to people that have a need for them … short term or long term. There is no charge made for anything, but as Treasurer Wilson noted, “we do appreciate a donation.”
Actually this committee has considerable operating expenses. They did not complain about costs, but mentioned two big items: the required insurance coverage is $1,400 annually from a local provider. And, replacement of worn-out or outdated equipment costs between $1,000 and $2,000 each year.
The five committee members were delighted to show me some of what is carried in stock. There are wheelchairs of various sizes and styles and just about as many walkers, some with wheels and some without.
Most of the hospital equipment stored in the room had been donated, but they do have to make purchases on a regular basis.
The Humanitarian Services Committee has about 20 wheelchairs as this is one of the most sought-after items. They are available in numerous sizes and styles (one style has two wheels and two skiis for crossing on carpeting). A large choice of walking canes, light-weight aluminium crutches, commodes, and so much more.
There are also items people would not think of, until a need arises. For example, there are transfer benches and chairs for getting into, and out of, a bathtub. There are raised toilet seats, with and without arms. Also shower benches with backs and without.
The sock puller is a popular item for people that cannot bend down to put ordinary socks on. Firstly, they put the sock on the unit with the sock opening at the open end of the puller, then simply slip the foot through the opening and directly into the regular sock. Sylvia commented, “this is the neatest little thing that we’ve ever had!”
There is also a protective, light-weight boot for people to put on who have a broken ankle or foot. If somebody requires a bed-rail to prevent them from falling out of bed, the Rebekahs’ supply room has those.
Another item people come for is the ‘Roho’ air-filled cushion to place on a wheelchair or under a bed-ridden patient to ease the pain from bedsores (it comes with a hand pump to keep it comfortably filled with air.)
The inventory includes a ‘reacher’ that can reach quite a distance (to a high shelf or distant object) to pick something up.
Another item on the display floor is an upholstered living room-type chair with deep comfy cushions. It is electric with a motor. A seated person pushes a button and the chair sections move so the occupant becomes sitting upright, then the continuing movement would realign the person to be standing in an upright position with both feet on the floor.
People wanting to borrow any of the Rebekah’s sickroom supplies can call any of these members’ phone numbers; 519 583-0596; 519 583-1896, 519 583-0195, 519 583-1342. A short application form to fill out is all it takes to receive this supportive equipment.
Looking to the future of this important service to Port Dover area residents, all five committee members emphasized their concern about how much longer they can carry on without additional volunteer helpers. It is not that operating the loan service demands a lot of time, it is just their own mobility is becoming a bit of a problem. A call to Committee Chair Bessie Smith (519 583-1896) or any of the others could answer all questions.
The Humanitarian Committee members are appreciative that Port Dover Lions Club gives the space at no charge. The Lions stated, “we and Rebekah Lodge members are both doing what we do best to serve the community.”


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