By Leslie Eckford
Amanda and I had a lot of fun yesterday looking at a couple of youtubes about the innovation from Norway for elders and others to manage stairs in their home. This video has a great description by the young inventors of the Assistep. Amanda immediately thought of a couple of her clients. If they were to have this stair assist device in their home right now, it would make the difference between their staying in their own home and having to make the decision to move.
The device is brilliant in numerous ways. Obviously, it is an option to modify an existing home so that it can be lived in and enjoyed for more years. It is less costly than some other home modifications and can be installed rather easily (there is a video of a time lapse installation).
We think it is also a very valuable device for health maintenance. In contrast to a stair lift, it offers the user to continue to exercise essential muscles in the upper and lower body. The phrase “use it or lose it” is really true for seniors. We have tendency to take away physical action from seniors when they require any kind of care. With our focus on safety, we also may take away critical daily movement that actually is key to maintaining muscle strength and endurance.
Consider if you have ever had a bone fracture or muscle strain that forces you to be more sedentary. Even after a couple of days of being immobile, you may feel somewhat creaky and it is a bit harder to do even your ordinary daily tasks. Imagine if you are an older person and someone is helping you with personal care. It becomes much more convenient and less time consuming for the helper to just do all the parts of the task, rather than “allow” the elder to do what they can.
Imagine the physical, emotional and social benefits of being able to walk independently up and down the stairs. Of course, while the Assistep is found in Europe,we have no idea when it will be available in the US, but hope that it will be soon. Here is the Assistep website. You can see more videos there.