PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) – Getting old is never easy, but a new Maine business, upBed, is hoping to change that.
“Basically, we’re helping prevent falls,” company co-founder Aron Semle said.
Semle’s business got its first customer less than a year ago.
It uses sensor technology and an app-based program to monitor movement of an elderly individual. The sensor, placed on the leg of the person, alerts the caretaker via mobile app or a desktop program when the individual has gotten up.
As the name suggests, it is intended to be used while the person is in bed to prevent serious injury from falls if they get up.
While the product has already made its way into nursing facilities across the state, Semle says he hopes it also allows more people to care for their aging loved ones at home.
“Ultimately, we want to get to aging in place,” Semle said. “We want to help people age independently in their homes."
The UMaine alumnus with a background in manufacturing said he never expected to be involved in healthcare.
"Industrial manufacturing you help people make things better faster. You don't get hugs. In health care, you get hugs. So I was like ‘Alright I’m all in,’” Semle said.
Semle runs the company from the Cloudport coworking space in Portland.
"We finally have what we think is product fit so we're starting to get referrals,” he said. “We're starting to grow organically. So now we're moving to ‘How do we scale? How do we sell more?’”
The product is really selling in Maine because of the state’s growing aging population.
Maine has the oldest median age in the country—making it difficult for nursing facilities and families to keep up given the resources.
Semle said that need was something they sort of stumbled upon.
"I think we kind of fell into it then we found that statistic later,” Semle said. “Then as we've kind of branched out for local support, there's tons of it because we do have this problem of this aging population.”
The company is still very new, but as more and more Mainers grow old, he is hopeful his company will grow too.
"If we can prevent those falls and allow them to stay where they want to be, it costs less money, they're more comfortable, and it's just better for everybody,” he said.
The company’s next step aims to create upBed PJs that place the sensor discreetly in socks and clothing.
You can learn more about the company at upBed.co.