CHARLOTTE, N.C., (January 25, 2016)—When he was 25, Ken Paulus became immobile for months due to double knee surgery, making even basic hygiene needs a struggle. Long recovered, he remains determined to help others overcome mobility challenges. Now the Charlotte entrepreneur is moving into a senior living community for six days to test the impact of URise Products’ StandUp Walker, a stand-assist innovation devised to make it easier and safer for the aging or anyone with physical challenges to get up and move around.

From February 6–10, Paulus will eat, sleep, participate and socialize alongside the residents of Brookdale Carriage Club Providence, a continuing care retirement community at 5800 Old Providence Rd., Charlotte, with the goal of gaining their feedback on the device and how it may improve their independence. His stay is part of Brookdale’s Entrepreneur in Residence program, an initiative developed by America’s largest senior living provider to help those designing products and services for the aging better understand their true wants and needs. 

“Basic medical walker design has not changed since the 1960s,” said Paulus, now 39 and founder and CEO of URise Products, a Charlotte start-up. “The traditional walker was never designed to help people stand up. It is too high and doesn’t provide enough stability when you grab it to rise from a seated position. The issue of what we call sit-to-stand is a massive problem, with a large number of falls occurring during this process.” Falling is the leading cause of death and injury among people 65 and above, according to the National Council on Aging.

The StandUp Walker’s patented ergonomic hinge allows it to be lowered so a person can safely stand up. When the user rises, the StandUp Walker easily transforms back into a medical walker for mobility. “It’s far safer, simple to utilize, and as a result, provides people more independence and freedom,” Paulus said. “It replaces several devices used in the home, such as a basic walker, toilet seat riser, bed poles and powered seats. StandUp Walker also folds up so you can take it with you for use outside of the home in places such as a restaurant or friend’s house.”

The product has been designed with a sleek appearance and comes in a range of colors, including Rambling Red, Breezy Blue and Get-Up Green, to remove the stigma that can be associated with assistive devices. “Our research showed that these days, no one wants silver or white. Everyone prefers a youthful, tech-style look.”

The StandUp Walker won the first-ever “Funder Games” competition for new health devices on the television show “The Doctors” in 2016 and has captured several industry awards for design and innovation. URise Products began offering it to the public in September. Paulus says the Entrepreneur in Residence program will enable him to see its impact in a real-world setting. “I’m looking forward to getting the residents’ opinions and finding out as it stands today, how useful the device is and what kind of difference it makes in their lives.”

Leslie Hall, executive director of Brookdale Carriage Club Providence, said: “All of us here are excited about Ken’s stay with us. For our residents, giving their thoughts and insights into products and programs that can help seniors is very meaningful.”

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