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11-Year Old With Friedreich’s Ataxia Gets Gift From Safe Step


SURREY, British Columbia, April 16, 2013 – Selena Yorke is a charming, inspirational and hope-provoking 11-year old girl. She has incredibly caring parents, great friends and a very supportive older brother. She shares her birthday and a passion for the color purple with Justin Bieber, whom she adores. She also has a disease: Friedreich’s Ataxia, an unforgiving, progressive neuromuscular disorder for which there is no cure.


Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. employees were so moved by Selena’s story that they asked their president Robert J. Hartley II to step up for Selena and her family. On the company’s behalf and at its employees’ behest, Hartley said yes, twice. Safe Step donated its top-of-the-line walk-in tub as well as a walk-in shower to the Yorkes as part of the company’s Safe Step Cares program, a nationwide initiative to provide state-of-the-art tubs to those in need.


Canadian Safe Step even brought her tub in a box in her favorite color: purple.


Safe Step Walk-In Tub and Shower delivery


“Whoa!” said Selena, as the purple box was removed to reveal her gift. “It’s got a bar, it’s got jets, it’s like a hot tub,” she continued before getting into the tub.


Safe Step says Selena is the first Canadian recipient – and second overall – of Safe Step Cares and that the company intends to keep giving back to the communities it serves on a regular basis.


“Today is about Selena,” said Hartley. “She is a delightful young lady and we’re here to assist her in her quality of life. Safe Step changes lives every day and we could not be more thrilled to change Selena’s life today.”


Selena’s day did not end with the tub and shower donation. Friends and family pulled together A Night for Selena at the Cascades Casino Resort in Langley. The event raised more than $26,000, which will be used for necessary renovations on the Yorke’s home to accommodate their beloved daughter. Additional donations can be made through Toronto Dominion Bank, account #9194-524-1677, cheque/check payable to A Night for Selena.


“It’s great to know that you have support and that you don’t have to do this alone,” said Selena’s brother.


“To get this type of help from people, some you don’t even know, is overwhelming,” added Selena’s father Brad Yorke.


“We have such amazing friends and family,” said Selena’s mother Cari Yorke. “Safe Step not only gave a Selena a tub and shower but they also have given her comfort and independence and brought awareness to her disease. This gift to us is life-changing because Selena loves baths.”


She also loved the purple box.


Want To Know Why Selena Loves Her Safe Step Walk-In Tub and Shower? Find out with our Free Information Package

With this Information Package, you will learn about:

  • Safe Step's unique, patented features

  • The safety and therapeutic benefits of our Walk-In Tubs 

  • Details on our Free Professional Installation

About The Author: Beth Wallace Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co.

Beth Wallace is a Safety Specialist for Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. She visits homes to show seniors how they can keep their home is safe. Her goal is to make sure they have a better quality of life and to see that their wishes to stay in the home they love for the rest of their lives are granted. Follow Beth on Google+ here.

Aging in Place: How Seniors Can Remain Independent in Their Own Homes



We all know that the Baby Boomers – those born during the post World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964 – are now entering their golden years in never before experienced numbers. The first baby boomers turned 65 years old in 2011, with the rest of the wave close behind them. There are now over 5 million Canadians over the age of 65 (up 14% since 2006), and that number is projected to double by 2036.

It’s time to dispel the myth that aging Boomers are going to be feeble, dependent citizens incapable of caring for themselves, whiling away their golden years in “rest homes”. The 1998 MacArthur Foundation Study of Aging in America established that older people are much more likely to age well than to become decrepit and dependent. Almost 90% of the seniors aged 65 to 74 in the study reported no disability whatsoever. Even in advanced old age, an overwhelming majority of the elderly population had little functional disability.

How Older People Can Age in Place Photo credit: Pedro Simoes

The researchers theorized that much of this is due to a huge reduction in acute infectious illnesses in the twentieth century, and to declines in high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and smoking – precursors to chronic disease. Basically, older people with healthy lifestyles are doing quite well for themselves, thank you.

Most elderly people in reasonably good health can take care of themselves in their own homes rather than move to a senior care facility. Recent Canadian census figures revealed that 92 percent of seniors live in private dwellings, and only 8 percent live in group settings such as seniors’ residences or health care facilities. Even at the age of 90, there are still close to twice as many seniors living independently than in a group setting.

Seniors are happier in their own homes
Although some seniors prefer the services and social opportunities of an assisted living facility, most are far happier remaining under their own roof. “Aging-in-place” – supporting seniors to remain in their homes in the community for as long as they want and are safely able to do so – not only makes for happier independent seniors, it also reduces the strain on our already overburdened health and senior care systems.

Home Adaptations

Often, some simple home adaptations can enable a senior to remain independent in his or her own home for as long as possible. Common outdoor adaptations include installing handrails, markers and non-slip strips or coatings on stairs, adding a ramp to bypass stairs, leveling driveways and walkways, removing screen doors, replacing door knobs with easy to turn lever-type handles, lowering thresholds, and improving lighting, including installing motion sensors. 

Indoor stairs are of special concern. Helpful adaptations include installing handrails and markers on stairs, making sure stairs are clear, and improving lighting. Make sure there’s a light switch at both the top and the bottom of the stairs. Consider relocating commonly used rooms like bedrooms and laundry rooms to the main floor, and installing a main floor bathroom if none exists.

Bathrooms are also particularly hazardous, partly because of the slipping and falling hazards they present, and partly because bathroom falls are likely to lead to a landing on a hard surface like a tub, a counter or a toilet. A grab bar by the toilet and a raised toilet seat are important adaptations for those who have difficulty lowering and raising themselves from a seated position.
Many seniors find it challenging to step over the side of a standard bathtub, difficult to lower themselves into a sitting position in a tub, and even more difficult to raise themselves out of the bath, especially because both rising from a seated position and a warm bath can lead to light-headedness.

Grab bars, non-slip strips and mats, handheld showers and shower stools are all helpful additions to conventional bathtubs, but Walk-In Tubs or Walk-In Showers are ideal. Walk-in Tubs feature a watertight door so the senior does not have to step over the side. They offerWalk-In Tubs features like slip resistant surfaces, safety bars, handheld shower wands, anti-scald technology and easy to use controls. Some include built-in seats. Walk-In Showers offer similar features, including a fold down seat.

Throughout the house, replacing doorknobs with lever handles, installing easy to grasp handles on sliding windows and doors, and replacing standard closet and pantry doors with bi-fold or accordion doors are fairly simple adaptations that can make an independent senior’s life easier. Make all shelves and storage as accessible as possible, and raise shoe racks, etc. off the floor to avoid them having to bend over.

Installing “swing clear hinges” which allow doors to swing completely clear of the doorway can add an extra two inches of width – often all that is needed to fit a walker or a wheelchair through existing doorways.

Kitchen adaptations include adjusting the sink and counters to a convenient height, creating “knee space” under the sink and counter so the senior can use them while seated, installing lever-type faucets, and making commonly used items easily accessible.

Other small but useful changes include using top loading washers and dryers instead of front loading, and having portable phones in convenient places throughout the house. If the senior has a hearing impairment, you can install a flashing light to supplement the doorbell.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has developed a comprehensive Maintaining Seniors’ Independence Through Home Adaptations Self-Assessment Guide to help identify the types of difficulties that seniors living independently can experience, and types of adaptations that can help overcome these difficulties. CMHC also operates a program to help homeowners and landlords cover the costs associated with making minor home adaptations in order to extend the time seniors are able to live independently.

Guard Against Falls

Nearly one-third of older adults experience a fall every year, most inside the home. Most falls take place in the bathroom or on the stairs. When doing "aging in place" home adaptations, start with bathroom grab bars and secure banisters on the stairs.

Actions seniors can take to stay in their homes can be to make flooring safer

Remove clutter, small items, loose rugs and trailing phone or electrical cords to create clear, wide pathways through the house. Eliminate any uneven flooring, carpet or thresholds that could present a tripping hazard.

Many falls occur when seniors are rising from a seated position or getting out of bed. A vertical floor-to-ceiling grab pole by a favourite chair or sofa can help a senior get to his or her feet safely, and a trapeze bar over the bed can make getting up in the morning or after a nap less challenging.

Night lights help avoid stumbles during the night, especially in the hallways between the bedroom and the bathroom.

Kitchen Safety

Many household accidents take place in the kitchen, and everyone should take safety precautions there, especially seniors. Wipe up any floor spills immediately to avoid slipping. Keep a non-slip mat in front of the sink and/or stove where you stand the most, and where there are most likely to be spills.

More fires begin in the kitchen than any other room in the house – most of them cooking fires. Never leave food cooking unattended – stay nearby, and set a timer to remind you when the pot needs to be turned off. Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove to avoid them being knocked over.

Wear short sleeves or roll your sleeves up when using the stove (especially a gas stove) so your clothing doesn’t brush the element and catch fire. Don’t store commonly used items over the stove where you have to reach across a hot element to get them. Keep any combustible materials (curtains, dish towels, grocery bags, kitchen utensils, etc.) away from the stove and the toaster.

Keep the stove, oven and microwave clean, as built up grease and food can start on fire. In case of a grease or pan fire, turn off the stove and smother it with a lid if possible, protecting your hand with an oven mitt or dish towel. Never throw water or flour on a fire – that can cause it to spread. Never try to lift or carry a burning pot. If the fire is in the oven or microwave, turn it off, unplug it, and keep the door closed. If the fire is not easily controlled, get out and call 911.

Every kitchen should have a dry chemical fire extinguisher in easy reach, and a smoke detector in good working condition nearby, but not so close that steam from cooking will set it off.

Protect Your Health

Proper nutrition is critical to seniros staying their own home Photo credit: kaniths

Two of the most important things you can do to protect, and even improve, your health as you get older are to eat a healthy diet, and to stay active. Proper nutrition and regular exercise are vital to helping seniors remain healthy and independent. Exercise improves balance, mobility, flexibility, strength, reaction time and bone density. Even gentle stretching helps, but the best routine is a combination of stretching and strength exercises. Eldergym® is an excellent online resource for videos and pointers for safe, simple and effective exercises for the elderly. 

Living a healthy life is a way for seniors to stay independent in their own home Photo credit: US National Archives

Hearing and vision may change more rapidly as we age, and should be checked annually. Upgrade your hearing aids and eyeglasses if needed – especially if you need to see well to drive.

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications should be carefully managed and kept at the minimum dosage to avoid side effects and unexpected interactions, especially in those who take multiple medicines. Many pharmacies will dispense prescription medications in convenient blister packs that pre-package medications for a full week by time of day (morning, lunch, supper, bedtime) to help avoid forgetting or confusing a dose.


Beware Of Scams And Con Artists

Independent seniors living alone are often the target of scams and con artists. Install a peephole in the door, and instruct seniors to never open it to anyone they do not recognize. Stress that they should never give out personal or financial information to a stranger, over the phone or in person. Remind them that if a deal sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Common scams include con artists posing as bank inspectors who need help with an “investigation”, home renovators or tradesmen offering a “special deal”, and utility inspectors (usually two) who need inside the home to “inspect” the gas or electric service. Once inside, one will excuse himself, often to “use the washroom”, and seize the opportunity to search the house for valuables while his partner distracts the homeowner.

Telemarketing scams include lottery ticket scams, prize scams claiming you’ve already won– but must first pay taxes and/or fees, vacation scams offering incredible savings, and charity scams – often for a non-existent charity with a similar name to a well-known charity. The bottom line – nobody, including the elderly, should send money or make a donation to anyone unless they can confirm their legitimacy.

Look Into Local Services And Activities

Local Seniors’ Centres offer a variety of activities, social events and classes, many of them free or low cost. They are also a valuable resource for information on "aging in place" services such as Meals on Wheels or volunteer drivers for medical appointments.

To stay at home with loved ones, seniors should take these steps Photo credit: juliaf


Provincial governments offer publicly subsidized home and community care services to help seniors remain independent and in their own home for as long as possible. These elder care services are designed to complement seniors’ efforts to care for themselves, with the assistance of their friends, family and community.

Home healthcare services are direct care services provided by community health workers to clients with chronic, health-related conditions who require personal assistance with activities of daily living such as mobility, nutrition, bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting. Home healthcare workers may also perform some specific nursing and rehabilitation recommended by health care professionals.

Personal Alarms

While seniors may cherish their independence, living alone can give rise to fears about being unable to get help during a medical emergency. Some seniors and their families find peace of mind in a personal lifeline-alert that can summon help with the push of a button, even if they are unable to use the phone. A typical personal alert alarm will have a waterproof wristband or pendant that you can wear at all times. Some units have fall detection technology that automatically summons help if it detects a fall, even if the wearer can’t push the button.

Other Considerations

There are a wealth of helpful tools and gadgets for those who have lost strength or movement in their hands, such as those with arthritis. These tools can help open jars, turn doorknobs, do up buttons and zippers, put on shoes and socks, reach and grip items, write, change TV channels, and even play cards. There are also cleverly designed non-skid dishes and specially weighted cups and eating utensils to help grip and to avoid spills caused by tremors.

As the Baby Boomers hit retirement age and awareness grows about their needs and interests, businesses, services and communities are all doing their part to be more welcoming and accessible. There’s never been a better time to enjoy being an independent senior!


Liked what you read? Here are some additional resources to check out:

6 Fall Prevention Tips For Your Home by Mountainside Medical Equipment

More Years in Our Senior Loved Ones’ Lives – and More Life in Their Years by Senior Care Corner

Let's Focus On Fall Prevention by CB Therapy Services


Announcing A Great Way To Stay Independent In Your Own Home

A Walk-In Tub will allow you to stay in the home you love and the live the life you've always enjoyed. Why stop now? Get this FREE Information Package on Canadian Safe Step's Walk-In Tubs.

With this Information Package, you will learn about:

  • Safe Step's unique, patented features

  • The safety and therapeutic benefits of our Walk-In Tubs 

  • Details on our Free Professional Installation

About The Author: Beth Wallace Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co.

Beth Wallace is a Safety Specialist for Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. She visits homes to show seniors how they can keep their home is safe. Her goal is to make sure they have a better quality of life and to see that their wishes to stay in the home they love for the rest of their lives are granted. Follow Beth on Google+ here.

5 Bathtub Safety Tips That Can Save Your Life


Let’s face it. Old age living is not easy and is not getting any easier. What once were normal everyday tasks are now burdensome chores. With something so necessary to everyday living as baths and showers are, it’s essential that getting in and out of your bathtub is as easy as possible.

The University of Michigan Health System conducted a study that found that over one-third of people aged 60 and older had trouble getting into a bathtub. Bathtub safety is incredibly important for seniors.


Here are 5 tips you can use to keep yourself safe, clean and happy:

1. Avoid Slippery Bathroom Floors

Prevent falls with this tip from Katie Mallory

Before getting into the tub, your first contact with any surface is with your own bathroom floor.

Depending on what kind of surface it is, a wet floor can be a huge injury risk.

Preventable measures include using non-slip bath mats for wherever you walk and if possible, weighted shower curtains to ensure water does not leak on the floor. “I recommend textured non-slip tile in the shower stall and surrounding area, and possibly marine carpet further away,” says Renovation Designer Katie Mallory.

A more simple option might be a Walk-In Tub that has higher tub walls to prevent water from leaking onto the floor. Keeping water from getting to your floor is important for your safety.

2. Safeguard Against Slippery Tubs

It’s no secret that a wet bathtub can be a prime place for accidents. Simple solutions call for you to install a bath mat or a non-slip surface in your bathtub.

Moldy or soapy bath tubs also pose a risk for slipping and falling. Here’s an innovative way to solve this problem:

  1. Dip your finger in water and slide it across the surface of the tub
  2. Take note of any grease or other residue.
  3. Close the drain on the tub, lay paper towels on the slippery area and pour vinegar on the towels until soaked.
  4. Put plastic wrap over the towels and then wait 5-7 hours
  5. Open up the drain and then rinse the tub out with water.
  6. Slide your finger across the tub again and feel the difference!

Some Walk-In Tubs are built with bacteria and mold-resistant surfaces to prevent this from even happening. Walk-In Tubs also have special non-slip surfaces that can safeguard against falls.

3. Budget Your Shower Time

Be sure to schedule plenty of time before and after your planned shower or bath. This will give you a good amount of time to get in and out of your tub. It will also allow you to go at a pace that works best for you. Rushing to take your shower or bath increases the likelihood of slips and falls occurring.

4. Let Your Bathtub Help You

Getting into the bathtub might be difficult. Getting out is another story. According to the U-M study.

 Walk-In Tub Grab BarsBathtub features that give the user leverage to get up and out of the tub will best prevent slips and falls from happening. According to renovation designer, Katie Mallory, grab bars are a necessity in any bathtub. These bars should be in an ‘L’ shape or in a curved design for ease of use. Most Walk-In Tubs have these bars. Tub seats, glass doors and shower curtains were among the objects used by seniors to get out of the tub. These pose serious injury risks.

If you can find Walk-In Tubs with custom wall mount grab bars, take advantage of those and don’t look back! The ability to customize where to offer leverage to exit the tub is essential. Your bathtub should help you out of your tub. Make sure it has the right safety features for getting out.


5. Get A Helper!

According to the National Safety Council, 54% of fall-related deaths take place at home. These are preventable accidents. Simply having a family member or friend nearby to help if you need it can give you a worry-free bathing experience. Alternatively, installing an intercom system can help you feel more safe and secure.

Walk-In Tub

Now Take Action!

If you enjoy baths, then why not make it easy on yourself? Taking a bath with safety and peace of mind is what you deserve. With a few simple safety tips, some sensible additions to your bathroom, and a Walk-In Tub, you’ll be on the path to what you love - a safer and more relaxed bathing experience.



Like what you've read? Here are some additional resources:

Fall Prevention Exercises by Senior Abilities Unlimited

Making a Bathroom Safe for the Elderly by EldercareABC

VIDEO: How to Make the Bathroom Safer for Your Elderly Parent by the Visiting Nurse Service


Need Information On The Ultimate Bathtub Safety Tip?

A Walk-In Tub will allow you to stay in the home you love and the live the life you've enjoyed for all your life. Why stop now? Get this FREE Information Package on Canadian Safe Step's Walk-In Tubs.

With this Information Package, you will learn about:

  • Safe Step's unique, patented features

  • The safety and therapeutic benefits of our Walk-In Tubs 

  • Details on our Free Professional Installation


About The Author: Beth Wallace Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co.

Beth Wallace is a Safety Specialist for Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. She visits homes to show seniors how they can keep their home is safe. Her goal is to make sure they have a better quality of life and to see that their wishes to stay in the home they love for the rest of their lives are granted. Follow Beth on Google+ here.

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