Innovative new products bring promising advances to fall prevention.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 26, 2017)—AARP Services, Inc. (ASI) and UnitedHealthcare announced the winners of the Fall Prevention Innovation Challenge. The Challenge, launched in February to identify new solutions for preventing falls among older adults, received more than 200 contributions from participants in more than 90 countries.

Luna Lights is the winner in the Most Viable Solution category. The solution, designed by Luna Lights CEO Donovan Morrison, is an automated lighting system that uses behavioral analysis and automated lighting to help keep older adults safer at night. It detects when a user gets out of bed and immediately turns on wireless lights to illuminate the paths to frequent nighttime destinations around the home.

Path Feel is the winner in the Most Promising Idea category. The product, designed by Katlyn Green, is a shoe insole that provides vibratory feedback to improve balance among older adults. The insoles amplify the sense of touch of feet to the ground to accommodate sensory deficits or general balance issues. The insoles help the user identify when their feet touch the ground, reducing the sense of imbalance and incidence of falls.

“When we started this challenge, we hoped to find at least two viable concepts that could help prevent adults from falling, rather than alerting someone after it was too late,” said Sanjay Khurana, ASI vice president, Caregiving. “We’ve been happily overwhelmed with the response we received from people around the world who shared valuable insights and encouraged the development of others’ concepts along the way.”

In addition to cash awards, the winners will receive in-kind support to help them advance their solutions.

  • Each will receive access to ASI’s iCare Research Panel for one research study with the caregiving panel to support usability and/or concept testing.
  • The winners can also participate in four hours of mentorship provided by ASI.
  • The Most Viable Solution winner, Luna Lights, could be added to CareConnection, a caregiving solutions resource and retail website.
  • The Most Promising Solution winner, Green, will receive $10,000 toward design services to bring the Path Feel concept to life.

Winners were selected based on criteria focused on affordability, health-centeredness, scalability and easy integration into people’s daily lives without requiring a behavior change. The judging committee was composed of health care professionals, physicians, researchers of aging and innovation leaders.

“A fall can be traumatic for older adults and drastically affect their health and quality of life,” said Efrem Castillo, M.D., chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “The connections and ideas generated during this challenge are paving the way for new innovations that have the potential to improve the health and well-being of millions of older adults.”

Fall prevention is a globally underserved area of healthy aging. One in four older adults fall each year, but less than half seek medical care. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that in 2014, 29 million falls were reported among those 65 and older in the United States, with approximately 7 million of these falls resulting in injuries.

OpenIDEO, a platform known for crowdsourcing global solutions, facilitated the challenge.. Through an online workshop, participants and a multidisciplinary community shared research, and developed, prototyped and refined their ideas.

To learn more about the winners, click here.

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