85-year-old goes back to school to help others

“I’m gonna start from way back in the beginning,” said Ralph Trimnell. 

Ralph Trimnell started his career as an industrial model maker in Chicago. 

“I’ve been in business for a million years.” 

His start was much different from his life now at his property in the South Valley.  He’s a jack of all trades, from sculptures to toys. his work is never-ending. 

“I’ve always wanted to learn everything there is to learn in the whole world.” 

His drive to create grew even bigger when his wife became bedridden and later died from dementia. 

“I found that if I was with her I could talk her out of getting up and falling down.” 

Often times people with dementia wander off leaving their family members worried. So, he wanted to make something to help. But how?

“I found out I didn’t really know everything I should know to do it.” 

At 85 years old, he went back to school, taking several courses at CNM.

“I’ve done alright, I’ve done alright, I’ve passed most of my courses,” he said. “I did some programming, I did some math and statistics.” 

He created a device that when placed above the heart, detects motion. If someone with dementia starts to walk away, the device then plays a recording with their loved one’s voice. 

“I see you getting up out of bed, now you know doc said you shouldn’t do that,” Trimnell explained. “Try to get them and coax them back down in the chair.” 

For now, he calls it “My Hero,” and he’s focused on getting it tested to see if it works. 

“My hero is just a general term to talk about how we feel about our loved ones who are suffering from these things,” Trimnell said.  

“Where hospitals and nursing homes, places like that could find that it’s a valid idea.”

You can find Trimnell’s handmade wood toys for sale at a boutique called, “The Next Best Thing to Being There,” near Old Town.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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