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FIAP > Boletín – Otras Publicaciones > RedActiva: Promoting the mobility of senior citizens in the city – Public Innovation Laboratory (PIL) – March 2018

RedActiva: Promoting the mobility of senior citizens in the city – Public Innovation Laboratory (PIL) – March 2018

15 June, 2018

The lack of cities prepared for addressing active old age is one of the main conclusions reached in this research, conducted by the Public Innovation Laboratory (PIL), an interdisciplinary body led by the Catholic University. Faced with this and other pending challenges in favor of urban seniors, a group of public and private sector professionals are currently conducting the RedActiva project, which starts from a basic premise: urban mobility is a necessary condition for maintaining the autonomy and independence of senior citizens.

The loss of speed and physical agility are mentioned as some of the points that most expose senior citizens to situations of vulnerability in the city. They have a feeling of physical fragility that leads them to take special precautions when leaving their homes. They are concerned about the possibility of tripping or losing their balance on streets with cobblestones, or sidewalks with changes in levels. Most of them only venture outside their homes before six in the evening, to avoid being outside when it gets dark.  Due to all the above, senior citizens inform themselves of conditions in the city before going outside.

An important aspect is that this group of people consider themselves active, with much to contribute to society. Hence, they do not identify with the idea that “Senior citizens are past the point of being useful.” They seek activities that stimulate them intellectually, and they believe that a large part of the activities and existing props are for people with physical and cognitive limitations, which they don’t identify with. RedActiva is an organization that enhances that concern. In fact, a pilot plan is underway in the municipality of Puente Alto and the idea is to apply it in other communities or cities.

31,000 senior citizens live in the aforementioned municipality of Santiago. Five thousand bracelets denominated “Banda Activa” have been distributed there. These are high-technology bracelets with multiple features for simplifying activities such as accessing public transport, using health services and announcing the time available for crossing pedestrian crossings at traffic lights. With this tool, senior citizens can access multiple street intersections with user-friendly buttons that provide extra time on pedestrian crossings at traffic lights; free access to bathrooms in restaurants and public services; an Active Route around the Puente Alto plaza to encourage physical activity; and exclusive shared taxi stops.

RedActiva believes that investing in the urban mobility of senior citizens also benefits society as a whole, generating savings in health and care expenditure. According to the report, having healthier senior citizens reduces their dependence on family members and caregivers, facilitates the mobility of other social groups with difficulties or risks for moving around the city and encourages a better relationship with senior citizens, more focused on their capabilities than on their vulnerabilities. It is estimated that senior citizens will comprise one-third of the country’s population by 2050.

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