The Women's Journal

Oh NO! He Has Started Falling, What Now?

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By Bonnie Falchuk-Baker

There are so many reasons people stumble and fall.

Aging, medications, physical handicaps, diseases, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s…

It seems we all know someone who falls.  

My husband Jim has Parkinson’s. Once he began falling, it happened more and more often. We did all of the fall prevention tips, tricks and methods. Falling still happens, no matter how hard we try.

One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year. When a person falls once, it is often the beginning of repeated falling. Many of those that fall cannot get back up without assistance, often requiring major assistance. Luckily, 80% of all falls result in no significant injury, and this has been true for Jim. Getting him back up was the biggest challenge.

Like many who fall, Jim is a non-riser, unable to get back up without substantial help. That meant calling Emergency Services repeatedly, as he laid there waiting for the responders. We could see that the next option staring us in the face was putting him in a nursing home, sooner rather than later.

Our dreams of aging in place together were rapidly fading, and our financial woes were about to cascade like an avalanche. We found several excellent nursing homes in our area. We also found the costs would wipe us out rapidly. The level of care required could cost $6,000 to $8,000 a month! We needed another option! As a former nurse, I can take care of Jim, except that I can’t get him off the floor. We couldn’t have the Fire Department or EMTs coming for supper every night.

In desperation, I shared my dilemma with a friend online. He could not believe there were no devices for a single caregiver to use in the home to lift someone from the floor. I explained that I had searched and researched. I found only expensive institutional options, but nothing practical for the home caregiver. He said, “Then I’ll make you something.”

And make it, he did. Within a few weeks, UPS delivered the ugliest, large cardboard box you ever saw. In it was my miracle solution. This prototype contraption worked beautifully. I could now lift Jim to a sitting position; just me and the device that Bryan had nick-named the “Get Your A** Up.”

I knew this was the answer for so many other caregivers like me. I showed the device to my friend, a retired attorney, who recommended Bryan apply for a patent, and start sharing it with the world of non-risers. Bryan got busy refining, engineering, and creating. He developed it into the A-Riser, a collapsible, transportable lift device for the single caregiver. Now any capable caregiver can lift an uninjured non-riser safely, with no strain or pain.

Following the development of the original Patent Pending Lift, Bryan has continued adapting and now fabricates multiple variations of the A-Riser. Customers call with differing limitations, and Bryan customizes according to their needs. He has developed the A-Riser GO, a wheeled mobile version, being used by persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). There is the A-Riser PRO, for Physical Therapists, and the A-Riser LITE, a version without a lift, specifically for assisting with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), that can even be used as a hygiene station.  

Hand cranked or electric, all of the A-Risers are collapsible, lightweight, and can be stored in a broom closet or transported in the trunk or van until needed. Then, with a simple set-up, the person is attached and lifted safely and promptly to the bench or to a wheelchair. 

If owning an A-Riser delays going into a nursing home by even a few months, the savings are enormous. Jim and I will be able to Age in Place as we dreamed for many more years. This one-time $1,000 purchase literally saves us tens of thousands of dollars each year. It is my hope and desire that anyone who has a loved one that falls will experience the benefits of owning an A-Riser. It has kept our retirement funds from rapidly disappearing, as we continue to enjoy Aging in Place.

Bonnie Falchuk-Baker was a nurse in America and Germany, and has a MA in English-German Literature.  She is now the full-time caregiver for her husband Jim

“The A-Riser can help extend your time to live in your own home and even more importantly can help avoid calls to 911 and hospital admissions!” 

 – Justin Martello, MD, Neurologist 

Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Specialist