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Mobility Aids Aimed At Helping Us Age Gracefully

Two designers add function and taste to products designed to tackle the physical setbacks of old age and support everyday life rituals.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
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Reading Zandri Kuhn's post, I saw a tool created by two young designers that I have seen in an article I read a little while ago. 

Human-centered: start from practices and (unmet needs):

What is interesting is how they started from observations of elderly relatives and their everyday practices, and how they might be impacted by old age:

"We started this project from personal experiences with our elderly relatives as well as observations stemming from them," the pair tells Co.Design. "For instance, Francesca’s grandmother could not bring the daily coffee to her grandfather when she lost some mobility, and it made her sad. So Francesca thought why not make a walking aid for her that allowed her to continue this life ritual."

Balancing functionality and needs:

This is an interesting quote about the balance between functionality and "not losing face" (emotions related to status and not looking old or infirm):

"We feel that the range of products should not be any different from the possessions that we have consciously selected according to our tastes and preferences up to the point of needing these aid objects"

 Universal design principle: "In fact, the designers joke, "considering our acquired laziness from our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and bad eye sight from staring at our devices’ screens," one can appreciate them just as much in their 20s as in their 80s."

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

1. How can we design objects / devices that support elders' people with mobility issues to keep living their life (including social rituals)? 2. What are these rituals or practices we might want to support? 3. Can we design something that is useful for both 70+ and someone in their 20s, and in the middle?

Tell us about your work experience:

Passionate about human-centered design and social impact. Teaches design thinking, organizational behavior and qualitative methods. NYU Faculty, Design for America of NYU advisor and OpenIDEO member.

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Photo of Tuba Naziruddin

I like it, it kind of reminds me of the shopping cart . I like how its universal yet specific to a need!

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