firstSTREET Focuses on Products for Older Demographic, Introduces Patented Toilet Lift

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A company headquartered in the small town of Colonial Heights, Va., has taken on one of the biggest challenges facing America's elderly adults: the need and desire of senior citizens to keep their independence and their ability to care for themselves at home for as long as possible.

Catalog and online marketer firstSTREET, which has for some years promoted products "for baby boomers and beyond," recently instituted a new company component that focuses on seeking out, initiating and promoting products designed specifically for the upper end of that baby boomer and beyond equation. "The AARP says that nine out of 10 Americans hope to live out their days in their own home," says firstSTREET COO Chris Fawcett. "firstSTREET's goal is to find products that will help the less-mobile elderly perform the tasks of daily living and thereby make that hope of sustaining independence a reality."

Fawcett points out that firstSTREET is tackling everything from failing vision to foot comfort, including addressing needs that some seniors might find embarrassing or undignified. For example, one of the first products being actively promoted by the company's new division is the Neptune toilet lift, a patented tilting toilet seat that mimics natural sitting-down-and-getting-up body motions. "This product could make the difference in an older person's being able to live independently at home, remaining in familiar surroundings with privacy and dignity intact. With so much at stake, firstSTREET is not going to shy away from products that some find uncomfortable or depressing. We don't find it depressing to discover an invaluable aid to any number of our elderly, infirm or recuperating customers."

The Neptune toilet lift that firstSTREET endorses, says Fawcett, is designed to provide exactly the right amount of power-assist as needed. "At the touch of a switch, this lift gently lowers and raises a person into position while minimizing the need for manual handling from caregivers. It's powered by high-output nickel metal hydride batteries, so there are no cords, no need for an electrical outlet," he adds. "And there is a warning light to indicate a low-battery charge so you won't find yourself stopped in one position when you need to be in another."

The firstSTREET catalog states that, unlike raised toilets and other kinds of adapted seats, "the Neptune toilet lift makes it possible to sit fully on the seat, with both feet firmly on the floor." This is important, says Fawcett, because "the sitting position on this lift feels comfortable and natural, and you can stop the lift at whatever position you want. This unit is more practical and versatile than ordinary handrails, too, because you don't need upper body or arm strength to use it."

Fawcett says these are all features firstSTREET looked for when researching toilet lifts, before choosing Neptune. Another important consideration, he says, was that this lift fits easily over an existing toilet. "You just set it in place. No installation is required. And it's designed to blend smoothly into bathroom décor. We wanted to find a lift that other family members, sharing that bathroom, would be comfortable with, too. On the Neptune, the arms fold up and out of the way when not needed, so it basically looks and sits like a regular toilet seat at that point."

According to Fawcett, firstSTREET will be introducing other easy-to-use "adaptations" to make life easier for the aging, as well as for those with such problems as arthritis and Parkinson's disease, those recovering from surgery, and those with other mobility issues and age-related safety concerns.

"firstSTREET's extensive inventory now includes a bath lift, a chair lift, and a toilet lift," says Fawcett. "And not only do those products offer a literal 'lift' in various everyday situations, but they also provide a lift in spirits for our customers as well. Being able to keep your independence and 'do for yourself' as long as possible is a wonderful thing."

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Jeremy Hauser
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