Living longer and working longer may have an unforeseen negative effect on an aging population: an increased risk of injury. According to a recent report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), injuries requiring an emergency room visit for seniors increased 73 percent in the past decade, and in 2003, nearly 16,000 senior deaths related to accidents in the homes were reported.
That, coupled with the fact that seniors are remaining physically active longer, says the CPSC, could also turn into a greater push for preventive measures to keep accidents at bay.
“Because it results in such serious injury, loss of life and loss of functional independence and it’s preventable we want to do something about it,” CPSC’s Dr. Michele Bellantoni told MSNBC.
Says the CPSC, doing something about senior injuries including alerting seniors to danger zones for accidents, even in places like home bathrooms and kitchens, is more important than ever. Additionally, the CPSC points to accident prevention and awareness for seniors as a key to a healthy future, particularly as seniors continue to remain active as they age.
In addition to informing seniors of accident potentials, another way to help reduce the risk of accidents in both home and work spaces is by making the spaces more accommodating to an aging population through ergonomics, and, in particular universal design which strives to create environments usable to everyone, regardless of age or ability.