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Torstein takes the stairs at Lamarktunet rehabilitation centre

Torstein grab rails of stair walker Assistep at Lamarktunet rehabilitation center
Estimated reading time 4 min. Published 04.09.2018
(This is a translation based on an article by Trond K. Johansen, originally published in Bladet Vesterålen on July 11, 2018.) SORTLAND: 91 year old Torstein Lien’s legs are somewhat frail, but now he has a good opportunity to train walking the stairs. A stair assist device has been installed at Lamarktunet, for a one year trial period.
Torstein Lien was a mailman for more than 30 years, and occasionally had to wear snowshoes to get to the mailboxes, but this was at a time when the mail had to arrive - no matter what. Now he lives at Lamarktunet at Sortland.

He willingly offered to volunteer when the stair aid had been installed and was to be demonstrated to the media.

One round of test walking and instruction was all it took for Lien. He handled it as easily as anything and had help and support both down the stairs and up again. Just to make sure, he took three trips, getting his daily helping of exercise.

The stair aid happens to be a good opportunity for stair training. Instead of riding an elevator, one can now walk the stairs safely without the danger of falling. “The stair helper holds you in place and is very easy to operate,” explains Marit Brenna Hansen, occupational therapist at Lamarktunet.

Co-Founder of Assitech AS, Halvor Wold together with the stair climbing aid AssiStep at Lamarktunet rehabilitation centre
Halvor Wold: One of the entrepreneurs behind the AssiStep
His grandmother needed assistance

It is entrepreneur Halvor Wold who constructed and installed the stair helper now in place at Lamarktunet. He developed it together with a group of fellow students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology(NTNU), and is now producing it in Trondheim. It has been sold and installed all over the country, but this is the first one in Vesterålen and Lofoten.

  • “It started with me having a grandmother who needs assistance when walking the stairs. Therefore I wanted to invent something that could make her more able to help herself, and came up with this idea together with a group of fellow students at NTNU,” says Halvor Wold to Bladet Vesterålen.

Hepro is the distributor of the AssiStep stair aid in Norway.

  • “Stroke patients in particular have good use of this, but also people with muscular diseases or other ailments making them less able to climb stairs by themselves. With an assistive device like this you become more independent and safe. It’s so simple to use that everyone is able to learn to handle it,” says Wold.

There are no electronics, only pure and simple mechanics, working well both on the way up and down, without electricity ever being involved.

You push the stair aid ahead of yourself when going up and down. If you feel like falling, the device will catch you or hold you back. It’s in use by people from the age of six to over 90.

Halvor and Torstein together at Lamarktunet rehabilitation centre
Halvor and Torstein together at Lamarktunet rehabilitation centre
“Helps me to use the stairs”

This is good news to Torstein Lien. This will help him be more active.

  • “Now I dare walk the stairs without help, and that means I can exercise and stay in better shape,” he says.

The occupational therapist is convinced this might get the residents of Lamarktunet to become more active. They might need a push to get started, but once they can see it is safe and you can do it on your own, there will be no problem.

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