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Saving Silver - Hip protector for seniors | Design Sprint 3


Saving Silver - Hip protector for seniors | Design Sprint 3

The third mastermind project is that of design student Line Sandborgh. She wanted to work towards improving the quality of life of older people and, after a short period of research, came across the problem of hip joint injuries.

What is it about?

Injuries in the elderly are a serious matter, as treatment becomes more complicated with age and the consequences can be detrimental to overall well-being, which includes not only physical health but also personal autonomy and social life. These injuries affect not only the individual, but also the entire medical and social cost apparatus.

New research has found that the main cause of injury is various falling accidents in older people, who often find it difficult to adjust to their general mobility problems and increasingly unstable gait at any given moment. Instead of focusing on treating injuries that have already occurred, Line Sandborgh has focused on developing an aid that could help prevent the most dangerous and common injuries.

Photography © Michael Coghlan

Where is the highest risk?

Falls and balance problems are the most common cause of injury and don't just happen outdoors on slippery surfaces, challenging staircases or during sporting activities. It also happens inside the home, during everyday activities that actually seem relatively safe, such as getting out of bed or standing up from a sitting position.

Women are 1.5 times more at risk due to their weaker muscle structure, weaker lower body and the fact that they do less physical activity throughout their lives. Another cause is psychological and lies in the increased caution and fear when it comes to walking straight.

Fractures are the most common consequences

Unfortunately, fractures are the most common consequences of fall injuries, and 10-20 percent of injuries are even serious. Here too, women are at a 2.2 times higher risk than men. Of particular note, hip fractures are the most dangerous. A worrying 50 percent of patients die within 6 months of the injury. Even if they do not lead to death, the consequences for general well-being are very negative and include loss of autonomy, social impairment, heart failure, blood clots and urinary tract disorders. As a rule, all complaints are difficult to heal.

What do those affected want?

When developing the product, Line Sandborgh has taken into account many important aspects that a problem solution should have, taking into account both its functionality and, above all, the wishes of the elderly consumer. The common problem with existing walking aids that are thought to help reduce the risk of falling, such as canes and rollators, is that they are associated with vulnerability and age, both of which are stigmatizing. The new product is therefore intended to reduce the risk of falling, but above all to boost users' confidence and support their autonomy rather than hinder it. The majority of seniors claimed that they would opt for something modern rather than aids that make them feel older.

Line`s solution

Here are the goals that the new product should fulfill:

  1. Reducing the risk of fracture
  2. Comfortable to wear and use
  3. Looks subtle and good
  4. Versatility
  5. Provide confidence and reduce the fear of falling

Line has also identified three areas with potential for developing the perfect design.

After careful examination and consideration, she ruled out the first two groups of solutions. The first would be too technical and complicated for the elderly. The biggest disadvantage of the second type is the difficulty for older people who already have limited mobility to put them on and use them.

A belt with protective inserts

She therefore decided to focus on designing a vest with particularly impact-protective materials that are placed in pockets and fit snugly around the hips. The "Armourgel" material is initially soft, which makes it comfortable to wear. It only stiffens on impact and protects the sensitive area of the body. The vest is not only comfortable, but also looks inconspicuous, which prevents the stigmatizing effect.

However, to make it even easier to carry and access, Line opted for a belt design with side pads. Firstly, the belt allows its users to keep it on at all times without making it difficult to use the bathroom, for example. Secondly, the belt is completely concealed under clothing, allowing its users to dress according to their style, unlike the vest - which would have to be worn all the time, significantly limiting the choice of clothing.

The belt is made of moisture-wicking material, a blend of polyester and elastane, a breathable material that does not increase heat and prevents unnecessary sweating. In addition, the material is stretchy, making it suitable for different body types. Finally, it is very durable, which ultimately results in a cost-effective product. On the inside, there is a non-slip rubber surface that allows the belt to conform to the skin and not slide down, which is crucial for the "Armourgel" padding to cover the hip area. The belt is adjustable to different sizes and is fastened with high-quality Velcro.

The final design

The Saving Silver hip protection belt improves posture, which is crucial for a stable gait pattern, and also directly supports the hip area. However, it remains invisible and discreet, providing much more safety than a walking aid. This makes it both an immediate and long-term solution that is perfect for preventing accidents and consequential damage. With its sporty and modern look, it meets the needs of users perfectly.

The concept works perfectly with a few small detail adjustments that arise to ultimately achieve all the goals that Line has set itself. The improvements are aimed at the material to make it waterproof, so that the waist belt can be used in the shower and it becomes a complete all-rounder.

Many thanks to Line for her great ideas and this professional design study.

If you like this concept or individual aspects of it, or if you think we should work on it further, please just let us know. We look forward to receiving your feedback at or via the e-mail button below.

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