Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Falling Down Stairs

Applied ErgonomicsVolume 40, Issue 3, May 2009, Pages 348-352

Prevention of falls during stairway descent in older adults

B.J. Kim, a,
aDepartment of Engineering, East Carolina University, Greenville, 229 Slay Hall, Greenville, NC 27858, NC, USA

A prospective design was applied to examine how older adults would adapt stairway intervention stimuli to gait patterns during stairway descent to prevent falls. Ambient lighting and an auditory signal were used as stairway intervention stimuli. The gait pattern changes with and without stimuli were compared. No significant change of angular displacement was found between normal condition and intervention conditions under daylight and nightlight. The lighting intervention tended to increase the knee's angular velocity for both daylight and nightlight conditions, but not the ankle's angular velocity. However, adding the auditory signal to the lighting intervention under nightlight condition increased the ankle's angular velocity. Under the daylight condition, every intervention was significantly helpful to make people step on the floor more confidently compared to the condition without interventions. However, the intervention of lighting had an opposite effect on the confidence of stepping under the nightlight condition. The intervention of lighting may contribute to increase of confidence during stair descent while compromising the declined stride length in older adults and the potential “rush” factor for falls on stairs.
BrooklynDodger(s) comment: As we get older, falling down stairs is more of risk. Mostly this report demonstrates how it's hard to figure out the risk factors and interventions.

1 comment:

JSoroko said...

For one interesting intervention, called Reversible Destiny, senior citizen housing was built to make it navigable - but challenging. This post on BoingBoing may be of interest: