As Steve Powell's parents aged, he realized they were more prone to falling and always needed help getting back on their feet. But he couldn’t find a simple solution — so he invented one.
The Colorado man’s parents were divorced, living in separate homes. Powell said his mom would often call 911 for help after she fell, only to be embarrassed after firefighters broke down her door to help her to her feet.
"She fell six times in four weeks," said Powell. "She was so humiliated she said she would never call 911 again."
Powell's dad had his own issues.
“After the first couple of weeks, he was literally bruised under his arms and around his shoulders from people picking him up," said Powell.
That’s when Powell decided to take matters into his own hands. He created the company IndeeLift, and invented a device he called The People Picker Upper.
Although both of his parents have since passed, Powell has expanded his company, selling the devices to at-home customers and nursing homes.
"The IndeeLift has been magical,” said Karen Brockmann, the health services director for Gardens Care in Denver, Colorado.
Gardens Care has 19 homes across the Denver area, and after a series of falls, they decided to get a People Picker Upper for every home.
"It's a huge selling point for us," said Brockmann. "People want to know their family member is safe here, this definitely sets their mind at ease a bit."
The People Picker Upper looks a little wonky, almost like a handcart or a vacuum cleaner. The wheels on the bottom allow it to be rolled throughout the home, and it has straps to secure a person to a seat flush with the ground. The fallen person can press a button to be elevated.
Brockmann said the machine is necessary because nursing home attendants legally can't lift their residents after a tumble. A fall usually requires a call to EMS, which could take a long time for a response since it's considered a "low-priority call."
"Sometimes they're here within 10-15 minutes, but it can take upwards of half an hour or longer for them to get here," said Brockmann.
According to the National Institutes of Health, around 17% of EMS calls are for senior citizens who have fallen and can’t get up.
This story was originally published by Sam Peña at Scripps News Denver.
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