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Cracks in the thin ice.

An interview with a 71 year old man.

Photo of Siddhartha Kapali
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I'll talk about an interview with a man named Peter, aged 71, who lives with his wife (68) in Brooklyn (NYC). They live by themselves, occasionally visited by their children who live in the same city.  

I met Peter at Willoughby Street outside a store, to which he had come to shop for the household and his wife. One could make out from the stance of this 5'5'' (approximately) tall man that he looked pretty fit for his age as he was walking towards his bicycle (yes, he rides it daily); where I stopped him to know more about him. 

Fear of falling: 

Peter has fallen on more than  a couple of occasions before and he has feared it ever since he started falling more frequently (post 65). He is more fearful of falling and hurting himself than his wife his, though he's the more physically active one out of the two. The surprising fact here is, all those falls have occurred outside his home, and that he has never had vision or imbalance problems whatsoever.  The sole reason for his falls has been the snowy weather which sometimes tends to leave cracks in the sidewalk, making the surface slippery and treacherous. 

He fell because of the cracks in the ice, causing him to walk and move about a lot more warily than usual with every next fall that occurs. He holds onto the railings while using stairs and follows the same suit while taking a walk on snowy nights or icy footpaths. He has never been gravely injured due to any of these falls, though he sounded pretty paranoid about falling again and welcomed any help that might be available for preventing it. 

Would you welcome a change?

Upon being asked if he (and his wife) would be willing to welcome a change in the form of a product that would help him protect himself (the brain and the hips, as they're the most vulnerable parts at that age) if he fell again; he seemed really excited to try it out. Moreover, he added that if we are thinking of such a product, we should also keep the knees in mind as they also become really rusty and fragile with age and protecting that area also was of utmost importance for him. 


What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Peter is afraid of injuring his knees (probably because of his arthritis) more than his hip bone or his brain (the two areas that we were mainly focused on protecting). This opened a new array of discussions amongst us and we diverged on our ideation.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a graduate student at NYU, background in Management of Technology. I worked for one year as a maintenance engineer and operations supervisor in a textile (design and production) firm.


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