Making A Living: One-stop shop

Cane & Able is a retail shop that sells adaptive products for the elderly and those with disabilities.


David Farrer remembers how tough it was for his family to find the right mobility and daily living aids for his grandmother as her rheumatoid arthritis and lupus worsened.

"We ordered items from catalogs or Web sites only to discover that the products received were not what we thought they were going to be or to do," he said. "As time went on, we became increasingly more frustrated."

The family also learned that a lot of products for older adults were available and that choosing the right ones was hard.
The situation inspired the former tax accountant to switch careers and open a retail store where people with arthritis and other medical challenges and disabilities can shop for everything from walkers and motorized wheelchairs to household and hygiene products.

In April, Farrer's Cane & Able Inc. opened on West Lincoln Highway in Penndel.

"The trick here is that you can try anything out [except for the hygiene products]," Farrer said. "You can take it out of the bag and test things out before you buy. You're not buying something where it'll show up at your doorstep and it's not right for you."

The store carries canes, scooters, grab bars, lift chairs, crutches, hairbrushes, compression stockings, orthopedics and a line of kitchen products for people with limited dexterity.

"We want to make their daily lives better," said Farrer, who lives in Philadelphia.

His mother, Laurie Farrer, has been helping at the store. She said some seniors are so happy to see all the products firsthand that they're "like kids in a candy store. But it's not candy anymore [that excites them], it's the things that ease up your life."

David Farrer said he has applied to have the shop approved by Medicare so customers can use their insurance to cover a portion of the cost of certain products. That process should be completed in the next few months, Farrer said.

He said Bucks, in general, and Penndel, in particular, are a great location for a shop like his. The percentage of Bucks County's population age 65 or older is higher than the national average, according to 2006 census data. And the borough is convenient to I-95, Route 1 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

"My goal is to make the public aware that there are effective devices that help people with challenges and needs to maintain their independence, enhancing their quality of life," said Farrer.

John Shirvinsky, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers, said senior citizens and the disabled could benefit from businesses like Farrer's.

"It's important to have companies like this operating and serving the needs of patients," he said. "In our industry, 85 percent of our businesses are small independent companies that serve community by community."

John Anastasi can be reached at 215-949-4170 or at
For more information, call 215-757-2263 or visit the store at 169 W. Lincoln Hwy. in Penndel.