Older people and design

Close up of an older man and woman with their heads together dancing. He is wearing a hat and cravat, and she is wearing a red flower in her hair. They look loving.When it comes to older people they want the same designs as anyone else. And why not? Too often older people are gathered together under the umbrella of “the elderly”. This term assumes everyone is the same. It’s applied to people as young as 60 or 65 and every age after that. We can debate the terms of “older” and “elderly” but in the end, we are talking about people and design.

An article in Design Week challenges assumptions about older people and design. It reports on a study involving older people in design projects. They found older people “want what we want”. The ‘we’ in this context is young designers. A key point is that people can live independently for longer if things are designed around their needs. In the end, age isn’t relevant. But designing inclusively is. That’s why devices designed specifically for older people are bought but often abandoned. 

The title of the article is, Why age is often the “least relevant thing” when co-designing with the elderly.  It’s an easy read magazine article with good points for designers.