June 22, 2016.
We are still ecstatic about winning HomeCare Magazine’s “Story of the Year 2016” in January! What an honor to have our journey appreciated and shared with HME and home health professionals.
To summarize the article, I began searching for a portable toilet safety product for Mom in 2006. I would have gladly paid the price for any device that allowed her to safely and discreetly use a toilet when visiting family and friends, in a public restroom, and while traveling. Unfortunately, she was now faced with two options: (1) she could stay at home rather than risk embarrassment or a debilitating fall; or (2) she could rely (dare I say “depend”?) on an adult diaper. Maintaining Mom’s independence and dignity were foremost in our minds, and these options were counterintuitive.
Although my search was unsuccessful, it did reveal an unmet need in durable medical equipment; more specifically, toilet safety products. Raised toilet seats and toilet safety frames were available, but they were designed for in-home use, and did not offer portability. It all seemed to simple to me, if toilet safety is needed inside the home, wouldn’t it be needed outside the home?
For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that over 22 million Americans are injured in the bathroom each year; the toilet being the leading cause. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) reports there are nearly 50 million adults over 65 in the US, and one in three of these seniors fall each year. Of these falls, 80% occur in the bathroom and 25% have a chance of dying within six to twelve months if it results in breaking a hip. My question, if these falls are occurring in a bathroom at home, what about public and hotel bathrooms?
In 2007, I made a commitment to develop products that are truly “free-to-go” – safe, portable, discreet, and truly promote independence. In January 2016, we launched our first product, the Free2Go Rollator, combining bathroom safety and mobility. Oh, yes … it has been a long and winding road filled with challenges, excitement, persistence, and the “power of broke” (Daymond John).
Today, our primary focus is to educate HME and home health professionals, occupational therapists, hospital discharge staff, seniors and mobility-challenged individuals, their baby boomer children, etc., that there is finally an acceptable solution to toilet safety in any bathroom – at home, in the homes of others, in public restrooms and when traveling.
Restoring dignity … it’s what we do best.