I am very close to my grandma. I always try and help her in any way I can, whether it is making sure that she gets food or a shower or even just to go for a walk. She has recently been diagnosed with minor dementia and she has congestive heart failure and another problem called AFIB. She has swollen feet that go numb on her, she is losing her short term memory, and she is also on blood thinners. Because of this her independence is becoming more and more of an issue because she has always been very independent and is fighting to remain that way. Because of this we try to help her when she wants it and sometimes we help her when she doesn’t realize it because she really needs it even when she does not want it. Because of this, empathic design is something that is of high interest to me. I like being able to know that there are things out there that could possibly be for my grandma. I also like learning about it because I use her as inspiration for my own innovation. I want to use this down the road as well in my field for shoppers, like my grandma, to be able to shop comfortably and as independently as possible. This is what I touched on during class when we were in our learning communities. When I tried on the GERT suit, I had not only my grandma on my dads side, but also my grandma on my moms side. They both have issues with joints, my grandma on my dads side more so. I was thinking about living a day in their shoes while I was in it. I learned that without glasses, both of my grandmas have so much trouble seeing. I also learned what it is like for both of them with their joint problems, how hard it is. Including all other issues that my grandma on my dads side has such as the heavy feet, with the numbness causing her balance to be off. On top off all of the personal experience, it also made me have a better perspective on being so stereotypical when I get stuck behind a slowly moving elderly individual when I am in a hurry. It also helped me gain some patience for the elderly when I am at work and I am waiting on someone. The main takeaway I got out of the reading was the safety in clothing for the elderly. I always think about how difficult it is for my grandma to dress herself and how she has issues with buttons and zippers. But I never really thought about the safety factor of an every day activity such as dressing until I read the article. It made me think more about how her balance is off and she could potentially fall just getting dressed. When it comes to empathic design, I want to see something that makes this easier for her. Something like wider openings in pants to prevent tripping or pants with a zipper or Velcro on the side so she can just step in the pants and zip or Velcro the side.
Our Design Slam problem was that Tim Allen was a 45 year old professor with an eight month pregnant wife, a mom right out of surgery, and a dad diagnosed with cancer. We had to come up with something for him to decrease stress in his life using empathic and biophillic design. We came up with the TechnoGreen Desk. It has a “green drawer” that can withstand having plants in it. It has UV lights for mock sunlight for the plants and can play as a light box for his research projects. We brainstormed through having a waterfall wall incorporated into his office, and also a lavender scented something but the TechnoGreen Desk was something that touched on all of his stresses we learned about him. Another group’s slam was with the colorblind store. We never really think about colorblind people unless we know them. The difficulties they face while shopping is something that I believe their design could fix so they can read signs or have the speakers help them. I also really liked the store for Rock Balboa. I feel that many elderly people suffer from being able to read signs and even labels because of sight issues. I feel like a store like that can be a very great invention that will draw a good target market in.