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Exploring Factors that Impact Ageing

 
As we learned in our  Inspiration phase, ageing is a complex topic comprised of interconnected issues, emotions, constraints and opportunities. To help us all design better during the  Ideas phase, OpenIDEO collaborated with our challenge sponsor Mayo Clinic to explore what we think of as the 'halo' of factors that surround each of us and impact how we age. As you develop your own ideas to support healthy wellbeing and ageing, we encourage you to consider how your design takes into account the following factors:
 
Transport
A person's ability to be mobile – drive a car, use public transportation, walk safely through neighboourhoods, or even call on family and friends for a ride – can have a huge impact on his or her wellness. Whether it's making it to a doctor's appointment, attending community events, or simply getting out for fresh air and scenery, transportation is a vitally important factor in our lives as we age. How might our ideas solve for these transportation issues?
 
Home & Shelter
For some, growing old at home – with or without the help of caregivers – may be the clear decision. But for others with less stable or secure housing, or for those who aren't able to stay in their homes, finding a safe, affordable, clean place to live can have an incredible impact on their ability to age well. For our purposes, home and shelter might encompass a stable home, a transitional or temporary home, a retirement community, a nursing home, a homeless shelter, etc. How might we consider home and shelter in our designs?
 
Safety
Building on home and shelter, living in a safe community has a huge impact on how we age, whether we're talking about safe streets and neighbourhood watch programs to our own sense of personal security and the response time for emergency services. Feeling safe – and actually being safe – are key factors for us to consider. How might our ideas evolve with safety in mind?
 
Finances
It goes without saying that money – our finances, our retirement savings, even our ability to earn wages as we age – has a clear impact on how comfortably and securely we live as we grow older. Can we or do we need to continue to work as we age? Have we saved enough for retirement? Are we reliant on government pensions? How might we design financial solutions for people as they age?
 
Health
Leading healthy lives – physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually – can greatly impact how well we age. Whether it's access to great physicians in our community or our ability to visit local parks or culture, health is a direct determinant of our ageing process. How might we design with holistic health in mind?
 
Food
Food serves multiple purposes for people both young and old: nutrition, sustenance, community connections and more. As we age, questions of access to quality nutrition and our ability or willingness to make healthy, smart food choices become even more important. How might our ideas help people access the healthy food they need, make good food decisions or create community through meals?
 
Education
As we age, our educational pursuits and processes may change – but our need to continue learning and exploring remains the same. From formal training in a new skill to informal learning via cultural events or talks, how might our ideas support education as a lifelong endeavor?
 
Social Interaction
Whether it's one-on-one relationships or being part of a broader community, having access to and participating in social interactions are clear determinants of how we age. These interactions can take all shapes and sizes: participating in religious or common-interest groups, joining friends for chess games in the park or even saying a quick hello to neighbours on the sidewalk. How might our ideas nudge people to connect and interact with one another?
 
What will you design with this Halo in mind? Add your thoughts to our  Ideas phase!