Business Profile
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • September 2011

Bill-Ray Home Mobility: Helping the elderly and disabled stay independent

Friendly Beds™ is the flagship product of startup company Bill-Ray Home Mobility and promotes increased mobility, safety, and comfort in the bed area allowing the elderly and disabled greater independence and the opportunity to remain at home longer.

Invented by mechanical engineer Joe Vosters, Friendly Beds™ is indeed personal — in helping his stroke afflicted brother-in-law (Bill) and witnessing mobility problems of his 92-year-old father (Ray), Joe researched traditional bed area aids and was not impressed. The traditional assistive items were single-purpose, lightweight and flimsy — bedrails that greatly wobble, a triangle trapeze that flexes with any weight on it, and questionable spring-loaded balance poles. How come no one has a system of heavy-duty items designed to work together? Thus the Friendly Bed™ system was developed allowing people to sleep in their traditional beds, yet have sturdy assistive aids to help them with mobility and safety in the bed area. Falls in the bed area are common and can result in broken bones or other injuries. People like "things that don't move," especially when difficulties are developing because of fading eyesight or muscle control. The four wheel walker and liftchair items have been huge homecare aids, but the bed area had been fairly neglected until now.

Friendly Beds™ is modular and upgradeable. Basic mobility aids of the large model include a 3-foot-wide trapeze bar, attached balance pole, and heavy duty pivoting assist rails. Other items are overhead lighting, reading lights, over-the-mattress nightstands, TV mounts, exercise equipment, overhead sling/trolley system, and other items under development.

The first prototype was made to be used by Ray and was the only reason Ray could remain at home as long as he did. Once Ray was on his back he could not roll over or get out of bed without help. Ray's wife (who was 88 years old with back/shoulder problems) would have seriously injured herself. With the Friendly Bed™ system, Ray was 100 percent independent in the bed area and became stronger because he was "helping himself" instead of having other people move him. The balance pole was critical. It helped him to stand and "get his bearings" before grabbing the walker. The Friendly Bed™ system can provide critical assistance for people to remain independent and at home and also reduce the strain and potential injury to the caregiver. In the case of elderly spouses, if the caregiver is injured it may force both people out of their comfortable home and into expensive extended care facilities.

Originally intended to help the elderly and individuals with stroke afflictions, Friendly Beds™ can also assist those with MS/MD/Parkinson's and spinalcord injuries, as well as amputees and wheelchair users. Aside from Friendly Beds™, Bill-Ray Home Mobility carries other products not typically found in area stores plus other mobility products under development.

Bill-Ray Home Mobility, LLC, is located at 3800 N. Providence Ave., Suite A, Appleton. Showroom hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. For more information on Friendly Beds™, visit http://www.billrayhomemobility.com or call Bill-Ray Home Mobility, LLC, at (920) 257-4001.

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