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Posts in category 'Elderly'

21 May 2014

Food safety and older people: the Kitchen Life ethnographic study

Tom-McLeod-in-kitchen-004

Foodborne illness is a major public health problem in the UK. Recent increases in cases of listeriosis in older people have focused attention on consumer food-related practices. Previous studies highlight poor relationships between what people know, what they say they do and what they actually do in the kitchen. The aim of the Kitchen Life study was to examine what actually happens in the domestic kitchen to assess whether and how this has the potential to influence food safety in the home. Drawing on a qualitative ethnographic approach, methods included a kitchen tour, photography, observation, video observation, informal interviews and diary methods. Ten households with older people (aged 60+) were recruited across the UK. It was found that trust in the food supply, use of food-labelling (including use-by dates), sensory logics (such as the feel or smell of food) and food waste were factors with the potential to influence risk of foodborne illness. Practices shifted with changing circumstances, including increased frailty, bereavement, living alone, receiving help with care and acquiring new knowledge, meaning that the risk of and vulnerability to foodborne illness is not straightforward.

The research was conducted by the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA).

> Summary article
> Scientific paper

10 November 2013

[Book] Connect: Design for an Empathic Society

connect

Connect: Design for an Empathic Society
by Sabine Wildevuur, Dick van Dijk, Thomas Hammer-Jakobson, Mie Bjerre, Anne Äyväri, and Jesper Lund
BIS Publishers, 2014
216 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract

The prospects are clear: we will probably live longer. The number of people aged 65 and up will increase enormously over the next few decades. Society will change as a result, but in what manner?

Europe – and, in fact, probably the world – faces the challenge of preventing loneliness and isolation amongst a growing group of senior people. The oldest part of the population is at particular risk of becoming isolated and lonely as they grow older and their work-related networks erode. While working in the field of technology and aging, the authors discovered that there is a whole new field to be explored, namely the phenomenon of connectedness.

This book is written by a group of authors with very different backgrounds, varying from business, ICT, marketing, anthropology, medicine, design and computer interaction. They all felt the urge to explore this field of connectedness and they discovered new opportunities for the emerging market of ‘aging-driven design’.

Design for connectedness is about support for behavioral change that increases connectedness in day-to-day routines. It’s not about encouraging a completely novel set of behaviors. Rather, it is about supporting human connections, especially during major transitions in life such as retirement.

Authors

Sabine Wildevuur works as Head of Waag Society‘s Creative Care Lab. She has an academic background in Medicine and Mass Communication and works as a programme manager, researcher and writer. She is passionate about innovation in the interdisciplinary field of healthcare, design, the arts, new media and ICT.

Dick van Dijk is Creative Director at Waag Society. He is interested in the crossover between virtual and physical interactions, in creating a narrative space, a place for imagination. Dick has a background in Business Economics and History of Art and is currently extending his creative skills in the context of an Arts Academy.

Thomas Hammer-Jakobson is Chairman of Copenhagen Living Lab, and has previously held top-level positions in the Danish Broadcasting Corporation for more than 10 years. Thomas is a specialist in welfare innovation. As such he has initiated and led many national and international projects in the field of elderly care and independent living.

Mie Bjerre is a partner at Copenhagen LivingLab, which assists public and private organisations in realising innovation and business potential. Mie has a background in European ethnology, realising while travelling that “understanding cultures, people and why people are doing what they’re doing holds great value when innovating”

Anne Äyväri, D.Sc. (Econ.), currently works as a Principal Lecturer at Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland. Her main responsibilities include managing RDI projects aiming at developing services and procedures in the social and health care sector. Her research interests include small firm networks, networking abilities, and learning in networks.

Jesper Lund has worked with digital innovation and user-centric design since 2004. He is currently working as a teacher and researcher at Halmstad University in Sweden, where he has been involved as a researcher in several R&D projects within the health technology field.

14 December 2012

Are the older generation getting tech-savvy?

oldpersonipad

BBC News has published a 5 minute video feature on Cambridge University’s Design Centre where they test how elderly people use technology.

Must-have modern gadgets are designed by young people with young people in mind – that is the view of Ian Hosking, who works at Cambridge University’s Design Centre.

This can mean that elderly people, who have much to gain from modern technology, feel excluded.

Mr Hosking’s mission is to improve the accessibility of modern, mass-produced devices like smartphones and tablets. To this end, he conducts experiments with volunteers.

The Design Lab conducts tests on individual products, but the general findings that Mr Hosking discusses here apply to digital communication devices across the market.

BBC News also posted a longer article on the same topic.

5 December 2012

Design patterns for mobile user interfaces targeted at older adults

 

The use of smartphones is becoming widespread among all sectors of the population.

However, developers and designers do not have access to guidance in designing for specific audiences such as older adults.

This study by Roxanne Leitão of Fraunhofer Portugal investigated optimal target sizes, and spacing sizes between targets, for smartphones user interfaces intended for older adults.

Two independent variables were studied — target sizes and spacing between targets — for two common smartphone gestures — tap and swipe. Dependent variables were accuracy rates, task completion times, and participants’ subjective preferences. 40 older adults recruited from several daycare centers participated in both tasks and a post-­‐session questionnaire.

The recommendations drawn from the authors’ research support two interaction design patterns relative to touch target sizes for older adults, and are presented in a scientific paper and on quite an attractive and hands-on website (although some visuals would have been nice).

29 November 2012

Nestor’s World, a Belgian social design tool

nestor

The full service design agency Pars Pro Toto in Ghent, Belgium built the “Wereld van Nestor” [Nestor's World], a social design tool meant to help local governments in Flanders create a better world for their elderly citizens.

The tool is built on 10 personas and their experience with eight different topics. These eight topics – housing, mobility, public spaces and the built environment, social participation, respect and social engagement, active participation and employment, communication and information, public and health services – are areas where local government can make a real difference for their elderly citizens. They are based on the WHO report Global age-friendly cities.

Local governments can now construe their senior citizen plans based on the relevance and impact of their planned services on one or more of these personas.

The project came about through a collaboration with the Social Welfare Agency of the City of Ghent, and with the support of Design Flanders. The research that it was based on is not very clearly described, but the site mentions interviews and workshops.

For now the tool only exists in Dutch (and the socio-cultural context is also distinctively Flemish), but if you have any special questions, please contact Johan Bonner (info@parsprototo.be) on +32 (0)9/244.62.20.

26 April 2012

Design Council revealed new designs to help people live well with dementia

Dementia_Dog_02

The UK Design Council, in partnership with the UK Department of Health, ran a national competition to find teams of designers and experts who could develop new ideas to help improve the lives of those affected by dementia, reports Dexigner.

Guided by in-depth research and working with those affected by dementia, the five teams developed the innovative concepts for products and services.

A fragrance-release system designed to stimulate appetite, specially-trained “guide dogs for the mind,” and an intelligent wristband that supports people with dementia to stay active safely, are just some of the resulting prototypes.

They will now be further tested and developed with commercial partners with the aim of making some or all of them available on a large scale as soon as possible.

Read article

> “The capital of the forgetful” is a revealing BBC report by Louis Theroux on what living with dementia actually means.

5 March 2012

Life 2.0 supporting elderly people’s independent life

life-2-0-logo-cm-ver_2

The Life 2.0 project is a EU funded project that aims at supporting elderly people’s independent life through a platform of geographical positioning and social networking services.

The project, which involves 13 core partners in 5 European member states, started in November 2010 and is now starting a pilot phase in which such applications will be tested in 4 pilot locations in Denmark, Italy, Spain and Finland.

The project is also involving elderly people in training centers (such as Kastanjegaarden in Aalborg, Denmark) community centers (such as Agora in Barcelona) and local libraries (as in Joensuu, Finland and Milano, Italy).

On his blog Nicola Morelli extracted a synthesis of the first results of the ethnographic analysis, the scenarios and the use cases.

The full deliverables and more information about the project are available at www.life2project.eu.

20 November 2011

Tablets, sensors, foot boards and other gadgets for (French) seniors

Grandpa skype
As the first baby boomers turn 65 this year, high-tech is gradually making its way into the lives – and homes – of older folks.

French newspaper Le Monde looks at the tablets, sensors, foot boards and other gadgets seniors can use to get caught up and connected (article translated in English for Worldcrunch).

“Surprising but true: the touch tablet is well-adapted to older people, even the least tech-oriented. No cables, no complicated data structures, just single-function touch points. The result is that tablets can be used as an all-purpose communication tool: to keep up with the news, check the weather, play games, or conduct video conference calls with one’s children, grand-children, and home-bound friends.”

Read article

22 June 2010

Intel transforming lives of senior citizens in 2050

Blood pressure monitoring
This month Chip Chick, the site that focuses on technology for women, was invited by Intel to its annual Upgrade Your Life Event where the company presented what it is working on. This feature article updates us on how Intel’s healthcare projects aim to transform life for senior citizens in 2050.

“Today Intel’s social scientists are studying the needs of seniors and their family caregivers in 1000 homes in 20 countries. [...] From this ethnographic research several personal health projects and devices have sprung up. “

Read article

(Check also this previous Chip Chick feature on what Intel is doing on web-connected Smart TVs)

17 May 2010

User experiences for children, for seniors and for play

UX Matters
UX Matters is another one of these great resources for the user experience community. Here three recent articles:

Designing user experiences for children
By Heather Nam (Mediabarn)
Creating a great experience for Web site users should always take the users’ perspectives into consideration. While a user’s age can be a contributing factor in a design’s success for a particular user, demographic information should not trump design conventions. Then, why do UX designers struggle when creating Web sites for children?

Designing for senior citizens | Organizing your work schedule
By Janet M. Six
Every month in this column, the Ask UXmatters experts (this month: Steve Baty, Dana Chisnell, Pabini Gabriel-Petit, Caroline Jarrett, Janet Six and Daniel Szuc) answer readers’ questions about user experience matters. The questions this month:
- What fonts and colors are easiest for senior citizens to read online? Do you have any other tips for me? I am building an informational Web site for senior citizens.
- What are your favorite tools for organizing your work schedule? Do you organize such information on your computer, your phone, or on paper?

Playful user experiences
By Shira Gutgold
Rather than trying to motivate users to go down routes they have no personal motivation to follow or to use a new feature they’ve never seen before and are perhaps a little wary of trying out, why not tap into people’s existing motivations and use their natural inclinations to encourage them to interact with our products? The most evident natural motivation is play.

20 April 2010

How do older people use e-mail?

Elderly and email
Researchers at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Spain have studied how older people interact and use email in their daily life.

The study, conducted by Sergio Sayago, was carried out in social centres in Barcelona and will be used to design new email systems that are more intuitive and accessible.

Electronic mail or email is the internet application used the most, even by older people, who haven’t grown up with Information and Computer Technology (ICT), and have had to put in greater effort to learn to use it than younger people. However, social and technological scientists still know very little about how older people or the elderly interact with email systems in their daily life.

The ethnographic investigation, published recently in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, spent three years analysing email use habits of close to 400 people between 64 and 80 years-old in social centres in Barcelona.

Related publications

22 March 2010

Connectile dysfunction

Connectile dysfunction
Designers can play a pivotal role, writes Mark Baskinger, associate professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, in empowering elders towards sustained autonomous living through improving the communicative properties of everyday products.

“Products fail us every day. For some reason, though, we tend to blame ourselves for those failures—for our inability to perform adequately, our lack of understanding, and, sometimes, our unsafe practice. A product’s physical/visual form needs to communicate to the user on an immediate and intuitive level what the product’s purpose is and how it should be used. Without this communication, a gulf or disconnect can develop between what a user is trying to do (his intent) to do and what he actually does (his action).

This disconnect—caused by complexity, physical configuration, and/or poor information mapping—can prime a hazardous scenario, lead to misuse, foster product abandonment, or induce personal injury. This problem is especially pronounced for elders suffering from age-related physical, cognitive, and sensorial changes, for whom product-related accidents, unsafe practice, and personal injury are common.

Addressing this disconnect between intent and action—this “connectile dysfunction”—can be a key approach for developing products for at-risk populations. It encourages safe practices and enhances the quality of users’ experiences. In this sense, designers can have a positive impact in peoples’ daily lives.

Designers can play a pivotal role in empowering elders toward sustained autonomous living through improving the communicative properties of everyday products.

This article introduces emergent themes for designers developing product experiences for an aging population, with a specific focus on major home appliances.”

Read article

14 March 2010

Four visions of the world tomorrow

The big rethink
Sir George Cox was the closing speaker at The Big Rethink, a ‘Redesigning Business Summit’ organised by The Economist, in association with the Design Council, that aims to develop some fresh ideas on how design thinking can be used to seize business opportunities in our increasingly volatile world.

As reported on by Jocelyn Bailey in Core77, Sir Cox reflected on the four biggest questions that business should be asking about the future: the shift to emerging markets, the ageing rich world, carbon pricing, and a lack of capital.

Sir George Cox is a Board Member of NYSE-Euronext, Director of Shorts, former Director General of the Institute of Directors and the past Chairman of the Design Council. He is also the author of the renowned Cox Review of Creativity in Business (2005).

Read full story

9 February 2010

New Philips phone for the elderly

Lifeline
Philips reports that its new Lifeline Cordless Phone System has been designed “to enable the frail and elderly to maintain independence, despite their changing physical needs.”

“The Philips Lifeline Cordless Phone System is a cordless home phone with a medical alert communicator. It provides a Personal Emergency Response Service (PERS) for frail, elderly seniors allowing them to maintain their independence and continue living independantly. The Lifeline service solution consists of a wearable personal help button and a PERS telephone base station. It provides subscribers with a direct connection to a national call center, which offers immediate assistance and coordination of local support networks and emergency services should it be needed.”

Read full story

14 January 2010

From people to prototypes and products: ethnographic liquidity and the Intel Global Aging Experience study

Global Aging Experience
The latest Intel Technology Journal (Volume 13, Issue 30 reports the research and development activities of the Intel Digital Health Group and its colleagues.

One article, entitled “From people to prototypes and products: ethnographic liquidity and the Intel Global Aging Experience study“, documents how a large-scale, multi-site, ethnographic research project into aging populations, the Global Aging Experience Study, led to the development of concepts, product prototypes, and products for the independent living market.

Successfully leveraging the output of ethnographic research within large organizations and product groups is often fraught with challenges. Ethnographic research produced within an industry context can be difficult for an organization to thoroughly capitalize on. However, careful research design and sound knowledge transfer activities can produce highly successful outcomes that can be thoroughly absorbed into an organization, and the data can lend itself to re-analysis. Our research was conducted by the Product Research and Innovation Team in the Intel Digital Health Group, and the work was done in Europe and East Asia, eight countries in all. Using a mixed methodology, our research examined health and healthcare systems in order to chart the macro landscape of care provision and delivery. However, the core of our study was ethnographic research with older people, and their formal (clinical) and informal (family and friends) caregivers in their own homes and communities. Data from this study were organized and analyzed to produce a variety of tools that provide insight into the market for consumption by teams within the Digital Health Group. As the results of the research
were driven into the Digital Health Group and other groups within Intel, it became clear that the Global Aging Experience Study possessed what we term ethnographic liquidity, meaning that the data, tools, and insights developed in the study have layers of utility, a long shelf life, and lend themselves to repeated and consistent use within and beyond the Digital Health Group.

- Download article
- Download research brochure

6 January 2010

‘When I was growing up’: ethnographic research on ageing in Ireland published

ERU booklet
The Trill Centre is a project by Intel, Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA), and academic partners including Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the National University of Ireland Galway, focused on technology research for independent living (TRIL).

In essence, the centre coordinates research projects addressing the physical, cognitive and social consequences of ageing, all informed by ethnographic research and supported by a shared pool of knowledge and engineering resources. It aims to discover and deliver technology solutions which support independent ageing, ideally in a home environment, based on the assumption that this will improve the quality of life of older citizens while reducing the burden on carers and on the healthcare system.

As part of the initiative, an ethnographic research unit (ERU) was established within the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway. Since its inception the ERU has conducted ethnographic research with individuals across Ireland – from inner city Dublin to remote areas of Counties Roscommon, Cork and Kilkenny. This research has been used to support clinically oriented work, to shape the direction of research projects and to learn how new technology was used in the homes of older people.

Looking back after nearly three years of multi-disciplinary work, the ERU felt that it would be worthwhile to bring together in one accessible volume a sample of their interactions and perspectives. The objective is to showcase some of their achievements and highlight the collaborative nature of their endeavours.

Download booklet

8 December 2009

Motorola research shows technology use is becoming age-neutral

Media engagement
The 2009 Media Engagement Barometer commissioned by Motorola’s Home & Networks Mobility business has revealed a shift in [US] consumer influence that hasn’t been widely recognized yet: age no longer dictates a consumer’s willingness or ability to use media technology or services.

In fact, all generations – Millennials (75 percent), Gen Xers (74 percent) and Boomers (66 percent) – recognize the role entertainment technologies play in helping them keep their lives in order, which helps explain why Millennials (80 percent), Gen Xers (78 percent) and Boomers (78 percent) are equally likely to desire to be constantly connected.

Read press release

(via FutureLab)

31 October 2009

Implementing digital TV in Italy: the other side of the digital revolution

Decoder
Italy is in the process of switching to digital TV, and the implementation is pretty much a disaster, as far as I can tell from the reactions in the region where I live (Piedmont). Many of the problems are technological, but not all. A volunteer force of ‘angels’ is doing what it can:

Here is quick translation of an article from today’s Repubblica newspaper:

“TRENTO – You can take everything away from them, but not the television. Put yourself in the shoes of Mrs. Livia, 78 years old, who lives in the middle of the mountains of the splendid Trentino region, doesn’t come out of the house from November to April, and has her television on all day long. When she was no longer able to watch the TV programs, she picked up the phone and called the ‘decoder angels’. “Help, my television doesn’t work anymore”. She soon became one of 6,000 elderly in the Trentino region who received personal assistance in setting up a digital TV decoder at their home. These are people who cannot (or do not want to) count on the help of children or other family and are already getting into trouble with wiring or the new remote control, let alone the now required channel tuning, which they sometimes have to do several times due to the various repetitor stations in the Trentino valleys.

This is the other side of the digital revolution – the one that after Sardinia and the Aosta Valley has now reached Piedmont and Trentino Alto Adige, with a slew of problems, complaints, doubts, protests, and threats not to pay the television tax any longer. Even when everything is fine on a technical level, the work inside the homes is just starting. The elderly are the most vulnerable, as shown by a research done by the Department of Sociology of the University of Trento. The study is based on the work done by the ‘decoder angels’, young people who have been installing decoders for free at the homes of those over 75, on a program subsidised by the local government.

Anxiety, anger, impatience: that’s what you get when you take away the television of an elderly person who is used to have that voice always in the background. It is a trauma for them. And then there are the technical problems: unable to adjust themselves to the double remote control, some elderly get confused, use the tv remote control to change the decoder settings, and vice versa, and then complain because the channel doesn’t change or the volume doesn’t go up. Elderly men, who tend to be more proud than women, try to make do. But it is not easy to connect a television set from the 70′s (yes, the angels also found those) to a decoder from 2009. And that’s if the antenna on the roof is fine and there is a free electrical outlet behind the television.

Panic strikes when an interactive menu appears during channel surfing: better then to turn everything off. Probably those in charge of the switch to digital didn’t think of the fact that those in charge of the implementation would often be the immigrant caretakers of the Italian elderly, who are not always able to read manuals in Italian. “It’s easy to say ‘digital’, but the real challenge is to bring the digital into the real lives of people,” explains Pierfrancesco Fedrizzi, who is in charge of communication for the project. The sociologist Carlo Buzzi, who authored the study, is more critical: he speaks about a revolution that is misunderstood, at least by the elderly users: “They are only interested in watching their usual channels. They don’t know nor understand the digital world, let alone anything interactive. “

5 June 2009

Public design projects by Participle

Participle
The site of Participle, a UK social design consultancy, contains some good materials on the design of the next generation of public services.

Only the Lonely: Public Service Reform, the Individual and the State
Article to be published in the forthcoming issue of Soundings.
In 2008, Participle worked with a diverse group of over 200 older people and their families in Westminster and Southwark. We spent time in their homes, going shopping with them, helping with the odd job and introducing them to one another, gaining insight into how individuals and families see themselves, their aspirations, their dreams.
The aim of our work was to ensure a rich third age, one that every citizen, regardless of income level or assets might live: a life less ordinary. Specifically, in Southwark our goal was the design of a new universal service that might be replicated nationally – supporting older people to live in a way of their choosing as they age. In Westminster our work has been more closely focused, we have worked only with those who define themselves as lonely, the majority of whom are over 80 and housebound with the goal of facilitating rich social lives.
This article briefly tells the story of this work, the affordable solutions we have designed and the nascent lessons for how we might re-think a welfare state, its relationship to individuals and most importantly of all to wider social bonds.

Video postcards from a town called Thriving
After an intensive 3 months of discovery and an even more intensive month of idea development Reach out is now entering the prototyping phase. We’ve developed a vision of a ‘youth development service’ based in a fictional town called Thriving. A town where young people and adults take part in loops of doing, sampling and reflective experiences.
(Very nice example of low-fi experience prototyping!)

Employability – the Bev 4.0 Way
It is time for a radical re-think that makes new vertical connections between the British people and a macro vision of our future economy. And new horizontal connections between skills, apprenticeships, learning and work.
Imagine a service that starts from where you are, visualises where you want to be and then supports you to plot a path – bringing modern and personal techniques to bear.

12 May 2009

Business Innovation Factory launches Student Experience Lab

BIF
The non-profit Business Innovation Factory (BIF) yesterday launched a new laboratory to enable innovation in higher education. The lab will support the design of solutions that increase college attainment levels, enhance the college student experience and improve the quality and effectiveness of the U.S. higher education system. The launch of the BIF Student Experience Lab is supported by a $280,000 grant from Lumina Foundation for Education.

The Student Experience Lab is the second BIF laboratory to come online following the launch of the Elder Experience Lab and its successful Nursing Home of the Future initiative in 2008.

BIF’s unique non-profit platform will provide Student Experience Lab partners with a collaborative environment where new ideas for improving the college student experience and increasing higher education attainment can be designed, tested and refined in a real-world laboratory with direct student engagement. [...]

In a first phase of work, the Student Experience Lab team will create an “Experience Map” of the environmental and human factors that are the most significant drivers of the post secondary student experience. The team will use a combination of observational and ethnographic research, self-reporting, surveying and secondary research to characterize the experience of current, former and prospective post secondary education students at various ages and from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

The Student Experience Lab will package findings from this phase of work in a highly visual and interactive form that uses video, audio, photography and first-person narrative to tell the story of the postsecondary student experience in a manner that allows experts and non-experts to understand the human, environmental and systems-level factors that most impact degree attainment.

Read full press release