At age 75 and retired for 15 years, Betty Faulkner still regrets the career roadblocks she experienced due to her hand tremors.
“My tremor really affected me on a professional level,” says the former federal government auditor from St. Albert, Alberta. “I was going out to audit businesses and, of course, my tremors were bad. It was embarrassing…it was difficult. People just thought I was nervous, but I wasn’t.”
For Faulkner, the solution was to finish her career working in the office doing problem resolution for auditors who worked directly with clients in the community. While her role was rewarding, she still feels she could have accomplished more.
Faulkner has a family history of Essential Tremor. Both hands are affected by tremors but the right hand is worse and Faulkner is right-handed. She struggles to operate a computer keyboard and mouse, drink from a cup without spilling, and with many other daily tasks.
She tried medications to control her tremor, which developed slowly starting at age 25. The results have not been dramatic. She also considered surgical interventions including deep brain stimulation but feared possible side effects such as memory loss.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that keeps the world traveller and her husband, Howard, home for now, Faulkner has a new lease on life thanks to Steadi-One, a compact battery-free stabilizing glove developed by AGE-WELL-supported Steadiwear Inc.
“I’ve had tremors for the last 50 years and finally we have some serious non-chemical help,” says Faulkner. “It’s worth its weight in gold.”
The glove “intelligently” stabilizes the wrist joint and forearm in people living with Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s disease. It uses vibration damping and nano-technology to provide resistance to hand tremors.
Since receiving the Steadi-One glove about a year ago, Faulkner has been busy doing many tasks and activities without having to ask for assistance. Howard Faulkner even made a video of his wife putting on make-up for the first time in decades. “Wow, I can do it…I’m getting some of my life back,” she says excitedly in the video.
“With COVID, I’m home. I’ve got asthma so I don’t go out. The glove has given me freedom and independence to do things I want to do, like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, with so little frustration,” adds Faulkner. “I have a feeling of control and I don’t have to ask for help.”
Faulkner is in regular communication with Steadiwear co-founders Mark Elias and Emile Maamary, to provide user feedback and as an early adopter of Steadi-Two, the second version of the glove. “I am so impressed with them,” she says. Pre-orders for Steadi-Two are expected to commence in June 2021, with delivery in the first quarter of 2022.
Steadiwear received the coveted Grandmothers Choice Award at the 10th Annual Startupfest in 2020. The company was also recently named one of the top 10 Canadian health care startups by Polidea, a software and information technology company.
AGE-WELL funding over several years has helped to bring the stabilization glove to market, with the goal of enhancing life for people who have Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s disease, the most common movement disorders in the world.
Written by Annie Atkinson for AGE-WELL.
Photo caption: Betty Faulkner wearing the Steadi-One glove.