Preserving the autonomy of seniors in Saint-Laurent

A program called CommunAînés technical assistance in health (CATS) has been allowing seniors in Saint-Laurent to obtain a free loan of mobility equipment for the past four months. Thus, 44 loans have already been made as of September 15.

This project initiated by the organization CommunAînés aims to prevent falls and give confidence to seniors so that they remain active.

A partnership with the organization Collaboration santé internationale (CSI) allows the social geriatrics team at Saint-Laurent to obtain refurbished walkers, transfer benches, canes, wheelchairs and other mobility equipment.

“We are talking about everything that can help a senior to move around, to be able to participate in leisure activities, to maintain their autonomy, but also to regain it”, indicates the coordinator of the CommunAînés project, Luis Segovia.

According to the director general of the AGES foundation, Stéphane Lemire, who oversees six social geriatrics programs in Quebec, 1.5% of seniors end up in hospital each year due to a fall.

Mr. Lemire estimates the cost of their hospitalization at more than $24,000 and could rise to $37,000 with long-term accommodation costs which would apply to a third of these visits.

“It does not include costs related to, for example, hip replacements, surgery and rehabilitation, says Mr. Lemire. We stopped at $37,000 because that was already enough to show that if we can avoid 45 hospitalizations, we will fully reimburse what it cost the government to support social geriatrics.”


When a request is received at the CATS program, a meeting is scheduled to meet with the senior in question. A follow-up is also carried out with the Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CIUSSS) of the North Island of Montreal.

“When a senior is recommended, we first want to ensure that they consent to receive our help. […] and explain to him what it is all about, explains Mr. Segovia. For a senior’s request, we sit down with them to make sure it’s the right solution for their needs […] while consulting the CIUSSS to have all the information necessary for its support.”

Before the loan is made, beneficiaries of the program also receive safety instructions and documentation in order to avoid accidents.

Mr. Segovia’s goal is to help every senior in the neighborhood who feels they need this service. « There is no limit, » he says. I always have at least three or four of each equipment available.

People wishing to apply for this program can do so by contacting CommunAînés at 514-708-6288.

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