Azimut Médical protects the hips of your parents and grandparents
by Startup Montréal 8 May 2023
This article was initially published in French on infobref.com
As we age, the bones of the elderly become more fragile, and can break more easily in the event of a fall. For an older person, a fracture is often fraught with consequences: there is a risk that the person will never fully recover. To protect the elderly against these risks, Montreal-based start-up Azimut Médical has designed an undergarment that can detect a fall and inflate to cushion the impact.
The problem the company is tackling is the consequences, for the elderly, of breaking a hip in a fall. “Aging means that the elderly are more at risk of serious injury in a fall,” Maxime Bolduc, CEO and founder of Azimut Médical, tells InfoBref. “Aging also increases the risk of pathological frailty, such as osteoporosis, which increases the risk of fracture,” he adds. And in the event of a fracture, older people are less likely to recover completely than younger people. Around a quarter of those aged 65 and over who suffer a hip fracture will die within a year. Another quarter will not fully recover, and will remain bedridden or in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.
Protective clothing already exists to protect the elderly from falls. “But these garments are often not effective,” says Maxime Bolduc, “and many elderly people refuse to wear them because they are uncomfortable and too conspicuous.”
Azimut’s solution is an inflatable undergarment that protects seniors’ hips. This undergarment is worn around the waist, over underwear. It is fitted with sensors that detect movements indicating a fall. In the event of a fall, the undergarment automatically inflates before the hips reach the ground, reducing the impact load on the hips by 90%. The garment can be connected to a home’s digital system, sending an alert in the event of a fall.
The business model is to sell a monthly subscription to retirement homes. This subscription includes a restocking service: if an Azimut garment is deployed during a fall, the company provides a replacement garment.
A pilot project is planned with Habitations Bordeleau, in Saint-Charles-Borromée, Lanaudière. The start-up also plans to sell its garments by the piece to private individuals.
Azimut Médical is one of 20 start-ups selected this year in Startup Montréal’s Bourse+ program.
By the end of the year, Azimut Médical will have completed its first round of financing and begun marketing its product in Quebec and Ontario. In the meantime, it is looking for other partner residences to set up pilot projects.
In the long term, Azimut wants its product to be recognized by insurers. “That would facilitate adoption,” says Maxime Bolduc. “Above all,” he adds, “it would make it possible to protect a greater number of seniors and thus prevent many tragic accidents.”
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