Living out your golden years can be blissful and fulfilling, yet many aging adults also face the issue of declining mobility as their bodies and vision weren’t what they once were.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24,000 people over the age of 65 died after a fall in 2012, making it a serious public health issue. With 10,000 boomers turning 65 each day, the issue of mobility in aging adults will continue to be a priority as our country ages.
When thinking about balance, it is a combination of vision, muscle, perception of space, and concentration. Unfortunately, this involves vision, muscle strength, proprioception (the body’s ability to know where it is in space), and attention. As people age, those elements deteriorate.
However, tech developers, builders, and other professionals are realizing the potential to help this population live independently by utilizing technology and installing furnishings which help those with limited vision or mobility to prevent falls.
Apps for Independence
In a recent TIME feature on “Senior for Startups,” the piece highlighted a new app called Lively, which helps loved ones respect an aging family member’s independence while being able to monitor on their wellbeing from afar through sensors on pillboxes and the refrigerator.
Many retirement homes are turning to their cleaning staff to ensure that rooms are not only clean, but are trained to inspect for tripping hazards that can be present when a person has low vision, such as a crumpled rug or a piece of furniture that is in the walking path of an individual.
Refurbishing a Residence
Some builders are putting themselves into the shoes of the people whose homes they’re constructing. When building for aging adults, it’s important to consider things like hues of trim and what type of floor to install. Older adults can perceive these environmental factors differently and foster conditions ripe for falls.
For instance, black toilet seats may not be aesthetically appealing but the contrast for someone with low vision can help prevent a fall.
While many may be worried how exercise could lead to a fall, it actually is one of the best remedies to keep bodies strong in your 60s and beyond. Keeping strong and maintaining muscle mass is important to preserve balance and reduce falls.