November is Fall Prevention Month and, as health and safety organizations work to raise awareness of how to protect themselves from falls, design engineer John O’Brien is calling on industry to lead by changing the conversation about aging.
OTTAWA, ON, November 08, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ — More than 1.6 million Canadian seniors fall each year. The number could climb significantly as 23 percent of the population passes the age of 65 by 2030 due to demographic trends.
“People downplay the impact of falls,” says O’Brien, President and CEO of HealthCraft Products, “but the effects can be life-changing — compromising mobility, creating chronic pain and mental health issues, and diminishing people’s quality of life.”
Beyond the person injured, falls also affect families and friends, caregivers and the health system. While a large proportion of falls are preventable, stigma about aging remains a powerful barrier to making living environments safer.
“All of us as industry players have to work together to raise awareness about the harms of falls and shift people’s attitudes,” says O’Brien. “Many people see installing a grab bar or shower seat as an admission that they are aging and not as strong or healthy as they used to be. We need to change the conversation so people see these devices as a proactive approach to safety and a way to claim independence. The goal is to make every space a safer space.”
O’Brien is calling on homebuilders and designers, occupational therapists, product manufacturers, and construction regulators to contribute collectively to fall prevention. He says industry needs to normalize the conversation around aging and falls and advocate for innovations. Those can range from improved safety standards in building codes to novel technologies that let people remain independent and in their homes longer — to “age in place”.
O’Brien’s company is contributing to these efforts with innovative solutions that make homes and residences as safe as possible. HealthCraft draws on multidisciplinary expertise in accessibility, body mechanics and industrial design to develop products that are tailored to human mobility and can be installed almost anywhere.
“Our whole philosophy is that safety should come standard,” says O’Brien. “Seatbelts aren’t optional for cars. Why should safety devices in homes and buildings be any different?”
HealthCraft’s Invisia line of products was developed with the notion of seamless safety in mind, providing grab-bar-style supports in towel rods and other fixtures that don’t draw attention to themselves or radically alter living space.
O’Brien says smart design solutions can help overcome stigma by making fall prevention products less conspicuous and more subtly integrated into residential environments.
John O’Brien is a mechanical engineer on a mission to create functional solutions to common problems. That’s what led him to co-found HealthCraft Products and Invisia, sister brands dedicated to improving safety in living spaces through innovative product development and manufacturing. As a member of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s Home Modification Council, he advocates for safety improvements to building codes. He has also been a panelist for a Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Professional Issue Forum on aging in place.
Ian Crawford, Marketing Manager, HealthCraft and Invisia
613-822-1885 x 229, 1-888-619-9992 or [email protected]
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