Re-tooling Outdoor Playgrounds for Older Citizens

“There aren’t many children using playground equipment now [in Japan], and most equipment is damaged and needs to be removed … it was natural for us to replace old equipment with workout equipment for the elderly.” Yipes… the incredibly shrinking kid population in Japan opts to stay inside and play digitally. Meanwhile, the elders gain more quality time during their frequent visits to neighborhood parks. The elderly are especially revered in Japan, which is a good thing… they currently make up a third of the national population.

So, who’s running the fitness classes while caregivers are at work during the day? This little fella.

60 going on six: Vivien Backhouse and Peggy Yuill go for a swing in the Older People's Play Area in Dam Head

Along with elder-only playgrounds, communities are constructing adjoining toddler-elder lots, so that caregivers of both generations can keep one eye out in each direction.

If you manufacture play equipment for a living, build up a product road map to address elder and disabled needs, while paying heed to grant- and publicly-funded programs that serve to outfit parks, centers, senior living and health care providers. It may be that your traditional sales channels need to be expanded to reach decision makers in health care, senior living, and community centers.

Read more about these interesting new global trends:

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