VoltSafe Blog Team – March 29, 2023
– By Lorraine Colond

The Importance of Inclusive Products & Tech for the Mobility Impaired

My grandmother will turn 91 this year. For years, she has lived alone in a condominium unit. She’s refused to move to an assisted living facility and wants to maintain her independence. We finally convinced her to hire a live-in caretaker when she realized her mobility had deteriorated to a point where everyday functions that the rest of us take for granted were difficult for her.  She is not alone, there are many seniors living alone that face the same challenges. But these challenges also affect those who are young and may have suffered an injury or illness, or were born with impaired mobility.  The world needs more products and tech solutions that help our aging population retain their independence and live with the dignity they have earned and deserve.

A Rapidly Aging Population

There are a lot of seniors who live by themselves like my grandmother.  Many are taking care of themselves with diet regiments and supplements along with the popularity of exercise programs. So they are living longer and don’t want to consider assisted  living until they are completely immobile.  Research shows 1 in 6 people in the world will be over the age of 60 by the time we reach 2030. To put it into perspective, in 2020 we had about 1 billion people over the age of 60. By 2030, only 10 years later, that number will increase to 1.4 billion. 20 years after that in 2050, the  world’s population of people aged 60 years and older will double to 2.1 billion. If you have any doubt that the aging population is increasing, just take a look at the numbers below. 

  • 2020  – 16.9%
  • 2010  – 13.1%
  • 2000  – 12.4%
  • 1990  – 12.5%

It is encouraging news that seniors are living longer. Who wouldn’t want to get into all sorts of trouble with grandma and grandpa while they are mobile? The problem is society’s ability to help them live independently for as long as they wish. I understand my grandmother not wanting to move to assisted living for the sake of an inability to carry out small tasks.

Mobility Impairment Causes

Most seniors struggle with mobility involving their joints which are usually a result of deteriorating tissue, cartilage or bones. In many cases, it is a result of a major issue like a stroke, a fall, arthritis, loss of strength in limbs, nerve and tissue damage. But many younger folks struggle from mobility impairments too, including loss of limbs from an accident or military service.

Accessibility Solutions in the Market

There are products on the market to help those with a mobility impairment like walk-in showers and tubs, accessible toilets, rails and handles built into walls and chair lifts built into the staircase to assist with traveling between different floors of the home. There are also condo developments that are built specifically for senior independent living.

But what about those who are not ready to move into an assisted living facility? How do they get help with tasks that most of us take for granted? Most of these tasks require using your hands, like clipping nails, cutting, opening jars or bottles, eating and plugging into electricity. For example:

  • Table top scissors
  • Table top nail clippers
  • Jar openers
  • Automatic bottle opener
  • Spoons 
  • Toothpaste dispensers
  • Plugging in small appliances

Accessing Electricity at Home

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything on the market to address helping seniors and others who share mobility issues connect to electricity in a safe and easy way in their home. Currently, we have many mobility impaired customers including seniors using the VoltSafe Winter Magnetic Block Extension Cord with their block heaters to warm their vehicle engines. They love the easy connect and disconnect feature and that it also eliminates the risk of electrocution. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched my grandmother struggle to unplug an electrical cord in her home and felt a little anxious about her safety. She now has someone to help her with that when I’m not around, but many seniors can’t afford a live-in caregiver.

It’s one of the reasons we are working hard to bring VoltSafe Home along with our multi-purpose extension cord to market. The magnetic design makes it easy to connect to electrical power. You can even dangle the VoltSafe cord in front of the sleeve-on outlet and the magnetic attraction allows it to click into place. The easy connection and disconnect relieves pressure on their joints and eliminates tripping hazards. The unique fingerprint contacts mean that live current only travels through the plug and outlet when connected. This eliminates the risk of electrocution should grandma or grandpa accidentally touch the outlet or contacts when connecting to electricity. 

Take a look at VoltSafe Solutions to see what we have in store to make connecting to electricity inclusive and accessible for all, because electricity is something that is required for everything that we do in a day, from cooking to cleaning to sitting back and watching a bit of entertainment.