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Date [ 2015-10-20, 08:48 ]

Designing products  for easy use by the elderly.

Home interviews to assess the needs of the elderly(Cr)DsgSingapor

(Singapore=Koreanpress) Jun Boon-Hwa = Design can help to improve the lives of the elderly through enhancing public services and creating innovative products that meet their needs. The DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) is working with designers, healthcare and social service providers, as well as the infocomm technology sector to design human-centred and empathetic technology solutions to address health & wellness needs of the elderly.

Dsg has launched two publications. Design for Ageing Gracefully and Empathetic Technology for Ageing, that  feature new design insights, design principles and concepts that can help public service providers and infocomm technology professionals to design solutions to cater to the needs of the elderly.

The two design ethnographic studies observed two groups of elderly to understand how they interact with healthcare services, environment and products.

These seniors come from different backgrounds ranging from those who are frail and dependent on others, to those who are active and want to contribute back to society. Through shadowing and in-depth interviews with the elderly, the study yielded insights into the elderly’s attitudes and perceptions towards health & wellness and technology. The research also suggested key design principles that could help make infocomm technology accessible for the elderly and to enhance public services to support a rapidly ageing society in Singapore.

“I highly encourage healthcare and social service providers as well as infocomm technology companies to tap on this rich database of ethnographic research to gain insights into the attitudes, mindset and lifestyles of the elderly in Singapore,” said Mr Jeffrey Ho, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council. “Through this research, public service providers and enterprises will also be able to refine their approach to health management and care support systems, and be inspired to design new and improved products incorporating infocomm technology.”

Some of the insights drawn from the research include - elderly who want to be independent and to find meaningful activities to occupy their time; some elderly are tech-savvy, while others want to maintain their existing lifestyle using only products that they are familiar with, such as television and radio.

Some proposed concepts highlighted in the publications include 555* Seniors Helpline for Jobs that can connect to a backend database that automatically matches the seniors to the opportunities available; Kopi and Toast, that involves setting up elderly-friendly mobile cafes at the HDB void decks as well as Inspa-Life, a TV-platform that pairs the elderly with younger community members to facilitate the co-sharing of experiences and new skills. Dsg will work with designers and interested agencies to refine the design concepts in the next few months.

As Singapore embarks on its journey towards a Smart Nation to tap on technology to serve our citizens’ needs, such design ethnographic studies become important when designing viable solutions aimed at addressing our aging population needs to gain greater acceptance and wider adoption.  
abc@koreanpress.net

 

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