This week we had class on Monday and went over empathic design concepts for older individuals specifically. Factors to consider when designing for them are changing lifestyles, physical capabilities, sensory capabilities, and cognitive capabilities. It’s a diverse process including consistently changing variables. They could have specific traditions, religions, customs, experiences, habits, needs, wants, preferences, and desires to accommodate within designs. Certain opportunities to potentially provide new innovative designs for would be things like diabetic peripheral neuropathy, stroke, alzheimer’s, parkinsons, osteoporosis, arthritis, cataracts, and many more conditions. These elder people still have styles they desire and a desire to feel self-confidence through their appearance. As future designers and merchandisers it is in our hands to design with people in mind, delivering results that elder people would not only find functional, but aesthetically pleasing as well, things they would be proud and excited to wear and own. We also took time to share about older individuals and discussing the things that we know first hand are important to them.
Then, on Wednesday, we all met at the Oakcreek Retirement home. It was such a cute little community with small pastel colored homes where these older folks can live and socialize with one another. My group got to interview a woman, Mrs. Mebby. She was so sweet and totally sassy! It was very entertaining and enlightening to talk with her and just get to know her and hear her stories. She spoke a lot about her family and her previous work experiences, as well as her daughters and grandchildren. She clearly values her family and gushed when speaking about her grandchildren. We also got into the thick of discussing design preferences for clothing, which was insightful. Fashion seems to currently be tailored to the masses, these lectures and discussions have truly opened my eyes to the underserved markets of people with more specific needs, such as elderly people or those with disabilities.