I read with great interest the recent article in The New York Times about the particular challenges faced within a growing elderly population and an alarming statistic with regard to the number of deaths caused by falls in the elderly.
A 2012 study revealed that 24,000 elderly individuals died from falls – a number that was nearly doubled since the prior study.
The science behind finding a balance between independence and safety is nothing new, but is advancing. Many of the researchers involved in protecting the most frail of citizens have engaged in a technique wherein the researcher will actually wear special glasses that decrease their visual acuity, helping them appreciate the challenges faced by the elderly in navigating things as simple as hallways, carpet, and even toilet seats.
Embedded within this article are some fantastic live action animations that I highly recommend our readers to view. They demonstrate what happens to one’s ability to differentiate surfaces with degrading vision. By pressing play, one can see how the elderly will fall, not appreciating obstructions that stand in their way. Many of the fixes for this are quite simple. Most seem to involve painting contrasting colors in areas such as step‑ups for showers or even toilet seat covers. Approximately $30,000,000.00 was spent on this recent study and I am sure it will pay off great dividends toward our elderly population.
All studies have confirmed that a fall suffered by an elderly person is quite dangerous and just as often, fatal. It is of utmost importance for us not only to take good medical care of our senior citizens, but to ensure that their surroundings are populated by enough safety personal to protect them and that the facility itself is designed with the elderly in mind. To read more, click here.