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Lambert’s Health Care moves into Turkey Creek

Farragut residents Randy and Elizabeth Wolfe know all too well the difficulties of being a caregiver to an aging parent.

It’s a constant struggle to allow the parent to keep personal pride while at the same time maintaining independence and quality of life.

Lambert’s Health Care, owned and operated by the Wolfes, is designed to assist those who are caregivers and need help. The company recently opened a new showroom on Parkside Drive, directly across from the Colonial Pinnacle development.

“Statistics show that around five hundred and fifty-thousand people in Tennessee are caring for an aging loved one in their home free of charge,” Randy said. “These people are vital to the health care system and they need support. Caregivers need a place to go to have questions answered and to see what options are available.”

“You can literally see the relief in their faces when they can have someone answer their questions,” Elizabeth said.

Some 34 million Americans care for someone aged 50 and older, according to a 2004 survey conducted by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving. Nearly nine million of that group live with the person for whom they are caring.

The trend is expected to continue along with the country’s aging population. Fifty years from now, one in five Americans, or 86.7 million people, will be over the age of 65. A century ago that ratio was one in nine.

This is one of the reasons Randy said he decided to purchase the business in 1989 — to address the needs of an aging community beyond the limited bounds of what insurance companies allow.

“It’s fairly unique to go this route,” Randy said. “Most medical supply businesses are set up in warehouses and the majority of their business comes from insurance companies. They don’t deal with products that are for health as well as comfort.”

Products such as the Maxicale bed sheets. Infirmed patients sometimes require the use of hospital beds with uncomfortable, thin sheets, Elizabeth said. The Maxicale sheets come in several different colors and have a higher thread count, making them a little more comfortable and attractive to the user.

A lot of the elderly that come in have become victims of arthritis, Randy said, which in some cases causes a lack of lower body strength. They plop into chairs rather than lowering themselves into them.

One of the products Lambert’s offers to help those suffering with such infirmity is a line of electric, adjustable recliners. Produced by companies such as Pride, these chairs can be moved at the push of a button to increase elevation and allow a person to ease into the seat then lower it.

Some of the chairs are covered with a fabric called Brisa by Golden Technologies, a light material softer than leather for those who choose to sleep in the recliner. Other models offer overstuffed pillows that allow stuffing to be removed for the comfort of the user.

They also offer a variety of support rails for bathrooms, bath chairs, devices to help an elderly woman pull stockings up and a host of other products.

“We had one case where a three-dollar device meant the difference between putting an elderly gentleman in a home and maintaining his independence,” Randy said. “He was having difficulty with incontinency and his family figured out his trouble was due to not being able to get a zipper down due to arthritis. We have a tool for that and his family was able to keep from having to put him in a home.”

Both Randy and Elizabeth agree the idea is to not only help an aging loved one maintain an independent lifestyle, but also to help them live independently while not damaging their pride.

Randy estimates that 50 percent of his business is paid through insurance.

By not being reliant entirely on insurance, he said it allows him to do things other medical supply companies aren’t able to do, such as selling clothing apparel.

While the left half of the 5,700 square-foot showroom is dedicated to equipment and tools for assisted living, the right side is dedicated almost entirely to clothing and apparel.

“We have so many varieties and colors to choose from,” Elizabeth said. “We carry Crocs, blood pressure cuffs with characters on them and we even have scrubs for kids.”

The idea behind scrubs for children is for those little ones who wish to emulate mom and dad.

“We even carry Littmann, which is like the Cadillac of stethoscopes,” she said.

Randy said Lambert’s goes beyond the retail aspect. The couple maintain a staff of 45 employees and three of those are respiratory therapists.

These three will go into customer homes, help do an evaluation and familiarize the customer with the breathing product they purchased.

The same type of customer service goes for customers that purchase motorized scooters. Staff members will go into a home to do an evaluation, determine needs and make recommendations based on those needs, such as the right size scooter that will navigate a customer doorway.

The Wolfes decided to move to the Turkey Creek area from their building site on Parkwest Boulevard.

Their current building offers more space and they said they would turn the former building into a company that will deal strictly with respiratory and sleep issues, such as sleep apnea.

For more information, call 800-669-1103.


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