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Even though research show that mobility is the most common disability facing older adults, it is an issue that is normally overlooked. In this blog post, originally published by SandGenLife, we’ve written about how we should change this behavior and how to open up for the discussion. 

Help Aging Family Members by Discussing Mobility Issues

The holiday season draws families, friends and neighbors together to spend quality time with one another. For many, this holiday season may be the first time they notice a change in a loved one’s health, including their personal mobility. It may be difficult to talk to aging family members about certain issues, mobility is an important one.

According to The U.S. Census Bureau, mobility is the most common disability facing older adults. Yet despite its prevalence, mobility is often the most overlooked. That’s often because people don’t know the signs to look for.

At your family gathering, is a family member remaining in one spot regardless of where the socializing occurs? Are they appearing uneasy while walking down the stairs? Balance, pace and pain when walking are all indicators a family member is struggling with their mobility. While these are the more physical indicators, it’s also important to recognize the more subtle signs, like changes in lifestyle and activity levels. Knowing how to identify mobility limitations can open the door for a respectful conversation this holiday season.

Once an issue has been recognized, it’s time to host a respectful, collaborative dialogue. Mobility loss can lead to other health ailments, like obesity, hypertension – and even chronic diseases like arthritis and diabetes. This conversation can’t be delayed.

The first step is to respectfully listen and acknowledge their struggle with mobility. Initiating the conversation from a place of love and respect will create a productive discussion that can open the door for solutions. Once the issue has been raised, it may be time to visit a health care provider to rule out any underlying health issues; and explore your options.

For millions of Americans, that solution is a mobility aid, like a walker or rollator. There are many models on the market, so knowing what to look for can help your loved one find an option that reflects their lifestyle.

When shopping, consider what your family member enjoys. Do they like walking to their favorite store, or are they an avid gardener? A mobility aid with an attachment to hold items and a seat to rest would be an excellent solution. Do they like to travel to see friends or family? Then a walker that is lightweight and compact will complement their lifestyle. Weight may also be an important factor if your loved one has an older spouse or a relative in a caregiver role. Other factors to consider include accessory options, and opportunities for personalization.

Look to designs that your loved one can feel good about – the market is not as static as it once was. A mobility aid, something so essential to daily life, should be a point of pride and personal style. That was our approach to designing the Carbon Ultralight. We set out to challenge the category by converting a product that had traditionally denoted feelings of dependence and fragility into a point of pride.

Pride can be found in the little, less flashy details too. For example, we re-engineered the handles on the Carbon Ultralight so it enables users to stand taller and greet their surroundings with a stronger presence. This design brings the device closer to the user’s core and it improves their posture. There is a psychological connection between proper posture and confidence.

To us, mindful design is at its best when aesthetic and functionality can work in harmony. Look to companies and designs that are respectful of the consumer; and the lifestyle they want to lead.

This Thanksgiving, if you find yourself worrying about a loved one’s mobility, the best ways to help are by recognizing physical changes, spearheading a loving dialogue and seeking the right solutions. And remember, you aren’t alone in facing this.

Source: SandGenLife – Help aging family members by discussing mobility issues – 22 November 2019

 

After many years with out-dated mobility aids, design companies are finally listening and changing the industry. In this article by The Wall Street Journal, they are digging into the reason that pushed the change – and we’re proud to be part of it:

Why canes and walkers are getting a new look

Older people have long complained that products designed for them are clunky and unattractive.

Now investors and inventors are starting to listen to their complaints.

As the population of people 65 and over grows, so does their spending power in the marketplace—and designers are taking notice. More companies are offering walkers, canes and other products that deftly assist the elderly—and are stylish at the same time. And investors are helping more of those businesses get to market.

The boomer generation is the first to wield its considerable spending power to reject bad design, says Patricia Moore, an industrial designer. As a 20-something in the 1970s, Dr. Moore disguised herself for a year as an octogenarian to fully understand how design fails older people.

“We were the ones always fighting for social change and looking good doing it,” says the designer, now 67 years old. “Now the medical model of aging doesn’t suit us, and we’re using consumer choice to drive the change.”

Speeding up evolution

Products such as walkers and canes have been slow to evolve aesthetically over the past century as designers focused largely on products for their young, mobile peers and largely ignored the desires of the elderly, says Chris McGinley, a senior research fellow at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in London’s Royal College of Art.

But, Dr. McGinley says, a shift in the way design thinking is taught in schools—as well as the slow death of the “superstar, egocentric designer”—has meant the needs and desires of older people are now being considered by those who develop products for them.

“Research-and-design ethnography methods that teach people to understand the end-user experience seemed quite niche 10 or so years ago; now, they’re a part of most good design courses,” Dr. McGinley says.

When designers ask older people what they want from products, the answer is often simple: to not look like something a frail, invalid person would use, says Don Norman, a former Apple designer. Now 84 years old, he believes designers too often equate age with poverty.

“Don’t we all find more attractive furniture or clothing and pay a bit more for it throughout our lives?” he says. “Why should it be different for this time in life?”

The request for a cool-looking walker or a well-designed long-term-care facility goes deeper than vanity, says Charlotte Yeh, chief medical officer of AARP, who used a cane herself for a number of years after a car accident in 2011.

“We have to address the damaging imagery of aging: Old-fashioned mobility and medical devices can turn you into an object of pity,” Dr. Yeh says. “When you bring a sense of design and beauty and aesthetics to them, people will talk about them, and people will talk to you—it becomes a way to connect.”

This group has power in numbers: In 2018, there were 52 million Americans over the age of 65, a figure that will nearly double to 95 million by 2060, according to the Census Bureau. And Boston Consulting Group projects that Americans over 55 will account for half of all domestic consumer-spending growth from 2008 to 2030.

Yet Ipsos research found that 82% of those over age 55 say their favorite retail brand no longer understands them or what they need. This feeling of alienation—plus a rise in internet literacy among seniors—is pushing the demographic to seek out and spend their money with brands that cater to their aesthetic needs, says Brian McMahon, founder of design research collective Segment International LLC.

“The idea that older folks are more brand loyal is an outdated view,” he says.

Many of the companies older adults are turning to have gotten into the niche fairly recently.

Danish design house byACRE ApS, which made its retail debut in 2018, is producing carbon-based rollators—walkers with wheels—as a sleek and lightweight alternative to the heavy-duty aluminum offerings sold in mobility shops. The Danish company has sold roughly 12,000 units since its launch, to customers in the U.S., Japan and Australia.

>Founder and chief executive Anders Berggreen was previously chief executive of Seed, a studio that sold high-end baby strollers. He began adapting his design skills for the senior market after someone at a design fair commented on the similarity between strollers and rollators.

Ten years ago byACRE wouldn’t have existed, Mr. Berggreen says. “Older people are using the internet more and googling ‘stylish rollator’ and finding us,” he says.

Another big change: End users are primarily making the purchases, he says. Previously, it was children or caregivers who did the buying, and simply chose whatever was on offer in mobility stores—which meant ease and good looks weren’t always prime considerations.

Source: Wall Street Journal – Why Canes and Walkers are Getting a New Look – 1 August 2020

 

Our Carbon Ultralight was recently featured by the design- and innovation savvy online magazine YankoDesign. YankoDesign are dedicated to cover the best in international product design and we’re proud to be in this category. In this product feature they highlight some of the design functions we are most proud of on our Carbon Ultralight Rollator:

This carbon fiber rollator’s handles will hold your hand

We love universal designs especially when they provide the freedom to move. Mobility is an especially important aspect to our differently-abled demographic that relies on inclusive design, so having a product that works for everyone including them is a true winner. That is why there is no surprise that the Carbon Ultralight rollator was featured on the Red Dot Design Awards! A rollator is basically a rolling walker with a seat that makes it easy to move without having to lift it up.

The name Carbon Ultralight is due to its biggest differentiating factor – the rollator is the lightest (and the first of its kind) in the world because of its complete carbon fiber frame. It only weighs 10.5 lbs (4.8 kgs) so it really is light light but the designers have also added some aircraft-grade aluminum to give it stability while moving and braking. The ergonomic build and shape have been inspired by organic bodies of fast animals (think dolphins, sharks, and falcons!) as well as the streamlined designs of sports cars from the automotive industry. One of the standout little details that make it a ‘clean’ design is that the brake cables are hidden inside the frame.

If you are currently social distancing, you will love the thought behind the shape of the rollator’s handles – the form is designed to give you a feeling of holding onto someone’s hand. This can provide a sense of security to the senior users as well as the differently-abled. Certain shapes and forms are known to provide a psychological comfort that can make the user confident about independently using the product. The handles are purposely turned into the opposite direction of the rollator to provide a better posture to the rider and making maneuvering easy. Its unique handles make riding effortless because you’ll be using your palms instead of your fingers to dictate the rollator’s direction. It also comes with detachable accessories like a backrest and organizer.

Another refreshing change was the upgrade to the height adjustment function – the designers replaced the traditional knob with a button that adjusts the height with 30 mm increments. It is a lot easier to keep track of the height this way if multiple people are sharing the rollator. Apart from being as light as a rollator could be if it was a feather, it is also super compact and when folded down it is only 255 mm wide. If you haven’t noticed yet, the Carbon Ultralight is not only highly functional but it also looks really sleek and stylish. Call your grandma now.

Source: YankoDesign – This carbon fiber rollator’s handles will hold your hand – 27 March 2020

 

Art Collector Barbara Jakobson has lived over 56 years in her vertical, yet inspiring home on Manhattan. How does she do it? She lets her house change along with her life – including welcoming her Carbon Ultralight Rollator. In this article by Curbed we get an insight of a creative living:

“I keep the transformation as proof of life.”

This house has a great history,” says Barbara Jakobson, much of which she made herself. She is 88 and has lived here since 1965, filling all five stories with her collection of paintings, sculpture, photography, and furniture. And the last thing she wanted to do was leave it. But a townhouse means a vertical life, and “after 56 years of stair-climbing without major incident, I was hurrying down from the top floor to the one below at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 23, tripped, and as I crashed to the landing below, I cursed my fate,” she says. Her tumble broke her leg, but, she says gleefully, “I did not hit my head!”

She immediately realized she needed to find a way to move between floors more safely. Probably one of those stairlifts, if she could find one she liked. The house could be adapted; it had always changed with her life as her collecting evolved. “I see the house as a vessel for an ongoing autobiographical exercise,” she says. “I keep the transformation as proof of life.”

They raised three children there. Barbara, who grew up across the street from the Brooklyn Museum and spent many hours in its galleries, had studied art and architectural history at Smith and, as an adult, began collecting art and got to know influential dealers, including Sidney Janis, Ileana Sonnabend, and Leo Castelli. She also had an interest in architecture, encouraged by MoMA curator Emilio Ambasz, and after becoming head of the Junior Council at the Museum of Modern Art in 1971, she organized a show of architectural drawings that included works by Peter Eisenman, Raimund Abraham, and Gaetano Pesce and became a trustee of MoMA in 1974.

Her many friendships are visible in these rooms: She and Robert Mapplethorpe were close, and she sat for many portraits by him. The Robert Morris felt piece in the foyer she bought in 1970; “Bob was a great pal. I really knew him until the end of his life.” She helped Sachs get his first job out of college, working with her when she was consulting for Knoll, doing the plywood furniture with Frank Gehry, “which I got Frank to do.”

                               Photo: Annie Schlechter

The Sitting Room: Jakobson’s new carbon-fiber walker mingles with totems of her life and interests. The portrait of Jakobson above the fireplace, one of many taken by Robert Mapplethorpe during their long friendship, is flanked with photographs by Matthew Barney. Richard Artschwager designed the chair in front of the fireplace. “I just thought it was so witty,” she says of the rubber vase with weeds by the Campana brothers in the middle of the room. The Lolita rug is by Barbara Bloom. The view is over the double-height room with the ghost Stella.

While recuperating from her fall, she looked into the right chairlift, one that might keep her in her house. She has always been fascinated by chairs. The first research paper she ever did, at age 13, was on the history of the chair. Why the chair? “Well, you know, the chair is the substitute for the human body. The chair is the only piece of furniture that relates to a single human being. So from the time you get in your high chair to the time you get in your wheelchair” — here, she laughs — “you’re dealing with chairs. And that’s why, I mean, in a way, that’s why the stair-climber, when I found it, I realized, Oh my God, it’s a chair; it’s going to save my life.

Source: Curbed – Art Collector Barbara Jakobson’s Vertical Life – 24 May 2021

 

As one of the articles in Financial Times’s guide to a longer (and healthier) life, they have written about the complexity of getting old while feeling young. How do you find mobility aids that suits your spirit? According to FT our rollators, along with other products that UK based “Granny Gets a Grip” is offering, has the answer:

The Cause: Meet the rock ‘n’ rollators

Getting old while feeling young is complicated. I was born in the 1960s; as a teenager I listened to Bowie, longed to go to Biba and aspired to eat McDonald’s. My lifestyle was liberal; I took drugs and the pill. I bounced about to Jane Fonda workouts and was an early adopter of Pilates. I’d say at 58 I still dress on the right side of timeless: from JW Anderson to Re/done jeans and my crisp Casey-Casey shirts. And I still love Bowie and Pilates. But however youthful my exterior may appear, the memo has not reached my joints. I was diagnosed with degenerative discs in my back 15 years ago, I have to ask my husband to open jars for me because my arthritic hands can’t manage, and it’s no fun trying to get up from the sofa without making “that noise” as I creak to standing. My eyesight is also shot and this week, for the first time ever, I got sciatica, which is really bloody painful! Apart from that, everything is great.

This morning I did a spot of online shopping; I ordered a pair of Adidas x Wales Bonner trainers, a Chanel mascara, and then I went to my new favourite website, Granny Gets a Grip. For those too young to know, its name is a nod to London’s hippest boutique of the 1960s, Granny Takes a Trip – a one-stop marketplace selling an ingenious edit of products designed for bodies that are showing signs of wear and tear. Founded by friends Sophie Dowling and Miranda Thomas, this website targets people who need a level of physical support but have a Conran Shop aesthetic.

Dowling and Thomas – both in their late 50s, like me, and who have have enjoyed successful careers as a website designer, and physics teacher and magistrate respectively – have scoured the marketplace for products to make life both easier and more chic, from mobility scooters to elegant LED reading lights. The colourful edit is full of satisfyingly practical solutions: long-handled shoe horns, brightly coloured walking sticks, ergonomic garden tools designed to minimise bending, a perching stool with stainless-steel legs, and a sloped sustainable bamboo seat – adjust the height and you’ll never have to worry about standing-induced backache again.

 The ByAcre red carbon Ultralight rollator is so sleek I’d happily roll it into Celine while shopping. 

Where possible, Dowling and Thomas have had things made, such as their furniture raisers, which make it easier to get up from a chair or a sofa. “They usually look awful, like grey plant pots – hence they’re often known as ‘elephant feet’,” shudders Dowling. “We have had attractive square blocks made from bamboo and hardwood – and now they look terrific.”

“We also paid particular attention to hand rails, which usually come in nasty white plastic or metal,” says Thomas. “We had ours made in solid oak with brushed-steel brackets.” It’s a level of detail for a generation who grew up with good design. “My sister is 67; she hung out with The Rolling Stones when she was young,” says Dowling. “She and her friends respond to the bright designs and the chatty language of the site.”

What’s remarkable is that the site feels so pioneering. It offers the opposite of the products in those drab, geriatric catalogues that, once you hit a certain age, start arriving through the door. A recent paper by KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank concluded that the “grey pound” represents the most considerable untapped opportunity in retail: it’s bigger than the “millennial pound” and, thanks to an ageing population, will only increase its market share.

I checked out with a haul including a memory foam knee pillow, which ticks a multitude of back-relieving boxes. Almost as exciting were the long-handle pet bowls – no more creaking first thing – and, lest we forget, the Dycem jar opener. With its non-slip cover, it’s only a tiny thing, and yet it is such a relief not to have to ask for help. Who would have thought mobility aids could be à la mode?

Source: Financial Times – The Cause: Meet the rock’n’ rollators – 5 October 2021

 

We’re happy to announce that through ambitious design we’ve managed to break through the wall to the US market and we’re happy to announce our partnership with Medline, one of the world’s largest suppliers of equipment for the care and healthcare sector in USA, Canada and Mexico.

We are now yet another step closer to breaking down the stigma around mobility aids – worldwide. It’s a huge accomplishment for a small Danish team like us.

January 19, 2021

byACRE, Medline Announce North American Launch of World’s Lightest Rollator


Stylish and award-winning, Carbon Ultralight mobility aid innovation makes US debut

Medline and byACRE, a Copenhagen-based designer and producer of advanced mobility products, today announced a strategic partnership to meet the growing demand for stylish and functional mobility aids. Medline will distribute byACRE’s Carbon Ultralight rollator, the lightest rollator in the world. Winner of the prestigious RedDot Design Award, the carbon fiber rollator has received global recognition for breaking down the stigma related to reduced mobility, with advanced engineering, style and personalization.

“As people age, they often find themselves needing a mobility aid to assist with daily activities of living. It is a vulnerable moment as it can be hard to accept the dependence of an aid like a cane, walker or rollator,” says Anders Berggreen, founder and owner of byACRE. “Our goal is to create high quality mobility products that reflects an individual’s personal style and denotes independence in their everyday mobility. Joining forces with Medline will allow us tap into their infrastructure and strong industry relationships to reach a broad audience of users.”

Weighing in at just 10.6 pounds, the Carbon Ultralight is engineered to reflect the functional needs of each user. The product, available in three colors (black, red and white) and three sizes (compact, regular and wide track) blends style with optimal walking and seated comfort. The acclaimed design was inspired by the automotive industry, and the minimalistic style of Scandinavian design.  It folds flat with a single pull, and the light weight makes it easy to lift into the trunk of the car and take it for a spin at the park.

“With the aging population, we’ve had increasing demand for products that account for their young-at-heart mentality,” says Brian Foley, president of Medline’s Equipment & Furnishings division. “What we love about the Carbon Ultralight Rollator is that its sleek, contemporary design doesn’t compromise the quality of the product. This is a game-changer for how we think of mobility aids and the people who use them.”

In addition to design and comfort, the byACRE team behind the Carbon Ultralight rollator has accounted for ease-of-use. Each rollator shipped to the customer comes with an organizer bag and is packaged to use immediately. The consumer can simply unbox, unfold, click and go. There are several accessories that are sold separately, including cane holders, storage bags and backrests, allowing users to customize the products to fit their needs.

The Carbon Ultralight is now available to consumers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico through Medline’s broad-reaching network of retail partners. For more information, visit www.medline.com/go/byacre.

About byACRE

byACRE is a leading international designer and producer of stylish mobility products. Founded in Copenhagen, the heart of Scandinavian’s design hub, the byACRE team combined expertise in engineering, design and visual arts for social good, setting out to create the sleekest, top performing rollators in the market. Since 2017, our mindful designs have won some of the world’s most prestigious awards in design and innovation, including the 2019 RedDot Design Award, the 2017 IF Design Award and the Danish Design Award. “by ACRE” is our quality seal. It’s rooted in the words ‘Active’ and ‘Re-Habitare’ – the Latin word for Back to Life. For more information, visit byacre.com.

About Medline

Medline is a healthcare company: a manufacturer, distributor and solutions provider focused on improving the overall operating performance of healthcare. Medline works with both the country’s largest healthcare systems and independent facilities across the continuum of care to provide the clinical and supply chain resources required for long-term financial viability in delivering high quality care. With the size of one of the country’s largest companies and the agility of a family-owned business, Medline is able to invest in its customers for the long-term and rapidly respond with customized solutions. Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., Medline has 27,000+ employees worldwide, a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks and does business in more than 90 countries. Learn more about Medline at www.medline.com.