Older people are all around us; grandparents, neighbors, even our parents are getting older whether we like it or not, therefore we must keep in mind what their needs are and how to meet those needs. Getting older is scary, even at 22 encountering a lot of change such as graduating and starting a job is intimidating. Just imagine how hard it is to lose your independence or your memory. Older individuals are facing so many challenges it should be up to us to help make the transition easier and less terrifying.
The idea of designing for the older generation needs to start taking precedence. Soon, we will have the largest population of people ages 65 and up. With that comes a lot of medical needs such as arthritis, poor eyesight, Alzheimer’s, etc. and that brings up even more problems such as dressing, driving, shopping, etc. Older people take pride in being able to do things for themselves, they do not want to depend on anyone. One of my grandmas is constantly driving different places and is very social, to take away her license would be lowering her quality of life tremendously. The older generation has done so much for us despite what the younger generation thinks, why not take care of them? Even though the older generation may not shop for clothes as often does not mean it is because they do not like to, perhaps they just do not like the clothing options or it is too difficult to put on many different clothing items or driving to the store is a whole separate challenge. We should also be making stores accessible and easy for the older generation to shop. What if malls had shuttles that drove older people to and from the mall, to the grocery store, and many other popular stores. This allows a private transportation system unlike the public buses which could create an uncomfortable environment. Trunk shows could even go to retirement communities to bring the stores to them. Men and women who live in retirement homes are still independent but may have difficulty in stores or getting to the stores. This is great for those who are in a wheel chair or need a walker. Companies such as Buck & Buck could showcase their products to the possible consumers.
My group’s design slam was centered around Rocky Balboa who has trouble seeing because of macular degeneration. He likes to be active and independent as well as grocery shopping at the same time every Tuesday and Saturday. However, sometimes he has trouble getting around the store. Our solution was bigger aisle signs to easier see what is in the aisle. Even for me it can be difficult to read the signs from far away. Another solution as buttons at the end of each aisle on either side. When someone like Mr. Balboa is having trouble they simply press the button and someone will arrive to help them. This is helpful for not only someone with poor eyesight but someone who is in wheelchair or scooter and even someone with arthritis. These solutions are not only possible but could also help more people than those who are older. The other presentation that stood out to me was Learning Community 5, I believe, that created a store with different textures for blind people. I thought it was very creative. I also really liked how they incorporated braille into their solution. I do not think designers design for the blind very often and I love what the group came up with.