Many older adults have trouble coming to terms with the aging process. The cane acts as an indicator of old age and takes away the freedom of older adults and makes them feel dependent on other people to complete daily tasks. This social pressure, felt by many older adults, causes a reluctance to use fall prevention devices, such as the cane.
In order to fight this stigma, we will create a campaign to change the attitude that people have toward canes. We will design a broad community-based advocacy day to build awareness and help make canes "cool," thereby rethinking the way canes are used in every day life and changing the stigma around getting old.
We will partner with designers and top brands to craft better canes that are more stylish. Additionally, we will partner with news organizations and online influencers to help promote these new canes. "Cane Day" will act as the central component of the campaign, allowing designers to showcase their canes and offer older adults a comfortable and welcoming environment to learn more and engage with fall prevention. "Cane Day" will also help educate younger people to help remove the stigma and change the attitude toward getting old for future generations.
UPDATE 1: Take a look at our event page for Cane Day on Facebook!
UPDATE 2: After working on our first iteration of the prototype, we have a few learnings about the process:
- It's difficult to garner support for a project without sharing a compelling value proposition that your end users can get behind.
- If you do take the time to explain your work, people are generally receptive and willing to discuss the idea openly with you.
- Many people don't own or have access to canes. This presents a major barrier to having people participate, so Cane Day would require places for people to borrow a cane.
- People are able to empathize with realistic narratives. Similar to groups like the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which organizes head shaving events for people to act in solidarity with cancer patients, people were interested in standing in solidarity with older adults who have fallen or who must rely on canes. This allows you to gain support by leveraging your personal network to rally behind the cause, even if they don't have a direct connection to the cause.
Some other ideas we have worked on as an extension to the original Cane Day concept include:
- We can organize a series of walks in major cities where people can walk with canes to advocate and fundraise around the issue of fall prevention. Additionally, this would help reduce the stigma associated with canes.
- To remove the friction of using a cane, we can design a sticker that individuals can wear on their clothing or bag to show support of the cause and also help reduce the stigma associated with canes.