As the Japanese population ages, the market for adult paper pants is continually growing. Indeed, Japan is the only country in the world in which the elderly use more diapers than infants. This has prompted manufacturers to adapt their marketing away from mothers and towards grandmothers.

Japanese healthcare giant Unicharm has come up with Lifely Walking Assist Pants, a paper diaper that can help the elderly to walk better by supporting the pelvis and trunk. It is currently available in Japanese shops.

Compared to the past, caregivers have become more aware of the need to use care products appropriately, so that their elderly relatives can spend their lives more comfortably. And Japan’s silver citizens are just as conscious of the need to stay in shape as their grandchildren. In surveys, the number of elderly respondents who say that they’re keen to stay in good health increases every year.

Yet of those who say that walking is important, only 30% actually get to go outside for a walk more than three days a week. This is partly because many elderly people find it harder to walk as they get older. Their stride gets shorter, they feel unsteady on their feet and they have to walk more slowly. If they feel uneasy about walking in their everyday lives, the feeling is compounded by the fear that they’re making their caregivers walk more slowly.

In Unicharm's survey, 85% of elderly walkers reported walking unsteadily, 72% taking short strides, and 44% moving slowly. | © SocialWire Co., Ltd.

Unicharm says that by supporting the pelvis and trunk to maintain balance, Lifely Walking Assist Pants can reduce the anxiety that elderly walkers often feel and even help them to walk unassisted again. The pants are comfy too: they’re half as thick as conventional non-woven fabric and offer both softness and breathability.

In tests, Unicharm’s technical team digitally recorded the movement of 18 women over 70, each of whom could walk between 100m and 1km with the help of a walking stick. Using motion capture sensors, the team found that Lifely Walking Assist Pants allowed the women to increase the length of their stride, raise their feet higher and flex their hip joints more easily than they did when they wore general disposable diapers.

Dr. Kotaro Kawaguchi, Dean and Professor at Hyogo University of Medical Science’s Faculty of Rehabilitation, is impressed. “This study shows that the hip joint flexion angle, the forefoot raising width, and the improvement in the stride length of the step are all due to the compression by the high-pressure band that supports the pelvis.”

More more details, call Unicharm Corporation Customer Support Center (in Japan) at 0120-041-062, or visit their website.

By - George Lloyd.