Falls in the elderly: designing human-centred

Lead Research Organisation: Falmouth University
Department Name: The Fashion and Textiles Institute


Hip fractures are a very serious condition in the elderly, greatly increasing morbidity and mortality, and decreasing healthy life years (Cianferotti et al. 2015). Current hip protectors (HP) comprise of underwear containing integrated or removable pads, providing impact protection around the hip joint. The acceptance of these products is compromised by, discomfort, dislike of appearance, difficulties getting on and off, and loss of daily living independence such as toileting (Sims-Gould et al. 2014).

I will develop prototypes to understand how hip protection can be designed to look, feel and operate, in a way that's sensitive to sociocultural and lifestyle aspirations of elderly people, whilst reducing the risk of hip fractures caused by falls. Human-centred design (HCD) will directly engage with people who are potential users of the product to inform the design development. A HCD language will stem from this research, embracing the reflective meaning perceived by users,
beyond solely technology-centred functional and aesthetic judgements of current designs.


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