Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Deborah Vezan, Founder and President of Limbkeepers
I am Deborah Vezan, the Founder, Owner, and President of Limbkeepers® products. During my 35 year career as an apparel executive in New York, I was also my elderly parents’ care manager. Balancing these 2 careers became overwhelming and I had to leave my apparel career in 2011 to give 100% of my time to my parents’ care. However, when these two careers overlapped, Limbkeepers® sleeves became a necessary reality.
While managing my mother’s care through her 9 year struggle with Alzheimer’s and other medical conditions, her skin became tissue paper thin and incredibly fragile. When she bumped her shin against a round table leg, the resulting 4 inch long skin tear landed her at a New York emergency room for 36 hours with a tag team of attending doctors and nurses! My mother’s inability to comprehend what was happening made the situation much more complicated , we never left her side. Throughout this unbelievable and frightening ordeal I could only think of how to protect my mother from future accidents. Her newly healed skin would be at even higher risk for injury. We already had 24/7 live in health aides (they don’t have eyes in back of their heads) so for added security I baby bumpered her apartment until I could find a protective solution.
I shopped medical supply stores and home healthcare retailers, but the products I found were compression, clearly not what we needed. I shopped for arm and leg warmers(all were bulky wool…not good) and sporting goods stores looking for any form of leg protection. Friends would suggest I cut up socks to make sleeves, creative idea, but they unravel and do not stay in place, what a mess! Our visiting nurse even said the only option was to keep her wrapped in gauze…seriously?
This absolutely was not a long term or short term consideration, even the most gentle tape was a danger to cause more skin damage! And finally my online research for skin tear protection suggested creams and ointments as well as wearing long sleeves and long pants. Well, on that fateful morning, sadly that is what mom was wearing, heavy fleece sweat pants.
My “aha” moment came when looking at my ski socks which were made with comfortable, moisture wicking yarns and terry knit to protect the shins. Inspired by my own sport apparel I brought my design ideas to Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover, North Carolina. Within 15 minutes of meeting they introduced me to an athletic sock factory just 1 mile away from their office. I met with the factory R & D and proceeded with test sampling. When my first prototypes gave my mother the protection she needed I knew my products would benefit so many others.
Launched in 2013 this is the foundation upon which I created Limbkeepers. Our initial goal was and still is to help our rapidly growing senior population “Age in Place” with safety, independence, and dignity, just like my mom. Since the beginning we have expanded our style assortment as we continue to develop innovative products for future offerings. Thanks to our customers and health care professionals in the industry, our vision has broadened to help ALL age groups to maintain quality of life with our products.