The founder and CEO of a durable medical equipment manufacturer and distributor specializing in mobility aids is spending several days as a resident of a senior living community to test the usefulness of a new stand-assist device.
Ken Paulus of URise Products, which has offices in Charlotte, NC, and San Francisco, is eating, sleeping and socializing alongside the residents of Brookdale Carriage Club Providence, a continuing care retirement / life plan community in Charlotte, from Feb. 6 to 10. While there, he is testing the company’s StandUp Walker as part of Brookdale Senior Living’s Entrepreneur in Residence program.
“All of us here are excited about Ken’s stay with us,” said Leslie Hall, executive director of Brookdale Carriage Club Providence. “For our residents, giving their thoughts and insights into products and programs that can help seniors is very meaningful.”
The Entrepreneur in Residence program, launched in 2015, is meant to help those who are designing products and services for the aging better understand their true wants and needs. From a business standpoint, Paulus may be starting from a more advantageous position than some: When he was 25, he was immobile for months due to surgery on both knees, which made meeting even basic hygiene needs a challenge. Now 39, he said that one of his goals is to help others overcome mobility challenges.
“I’m looking forward to getting the residents’ opinions and finding out, as it stands today, how useful the device is and what kind of difference it makes in their lives,” he said.
The StandUp Walker, Paulus said, is designed to provide stability when users move between sitting and standing positions, lessening the risk of falls. The patented ergonomic hinge allows the walker to be lowered to enable a user to stand safely.
“It replaces several devices used in the home, such as a basic walker, toilet seat riser, bed poles and powered seats,” Paulus said, adding that the walker also folds up to ease transport.
The walker won the first-ever “Funder Games” competition for new health devices on the television show “The Doctors” last year and has earned other honors, too. URise Products began offering it to the public in September.