“Beautiful clothes, designed to make dressing easier”
Arthritis, stroke or general impacts of ageing can all make dressing a challenge. Lifting your arms above your shoulders to get clothes over your head, bending down to pull trousers or skirts up and fiddly fastenings can be particularly difficult.
The Able Label is a new innovative clothing company addressing such challenges. Founder Katie Ellis, previously a fashion buyer for popular high street retailer White Stuff, was inspired to create the collection having seen first-hand the difficulties her grandmother with Parkinson’s faced.
The ‘desirable and dress-able’ clothes use quality fabrics, discreet adaptive designs, innovative fastenings and colour-coordinated internals to make dressing quicker, easier and safer. Yet when they’re worn, no one would ever know they were adapted… it’s our secret!
Find out more – www.theablelabel.com
Age Labs research the particular design needs of older people, as well as developing aids so that young researchers can feel what it’s like. We’ve bundled together some brilliant examples in one post here.
In the UK, SiDE’s Transport team monitor older driver behaviour in a lab, using sensors like eye-tracking goggles and heart-rate monitors. A modified Peugeot iOn can monitor drivers’ concentration, stress levels and driving habits. The objective is new technology that will instil confidence in drivers over 65 and keep them safely on the road for longer.
One example is a tailored SatNav that takes the least stressful, safest route for the driver, rather than the fastest. It avoids major roads and right turns, and shows pictures of key landmarks along the way to help drivers keep track of where they are.
In the USA, the MIT Age Lab has developed a suit – AGNES that when worn by a researcher or designer, has been calibrated to approximate the motor and visual skills, flexibility, dexterity and strength of a person in their mid-70s.
MIT Age Lab have also evaluated driving technologies to assess what works for older drivers.
The RNIB’s Digital Eyes scheme uses sighted volunteers (or buddys) to train partially sighted people to use tablets or smartphones for everyday tasks.
Tablets and smartphones have recently become both cheaper and more accessible with smart new applications to support those with sight or hearing loss. People with sight loss are beginning to use these to shop, read, keep in touch with friends and get out and about, and have told us the difference it is making in terms of social inclusion, independence and confidence.
The Digital Eyes scheme is being trialled in London in 2013. With a ‘buddy’ and the loan of a tablet or smartphone, the participant explores a new online area each week such as shopping online, social networking, planning a journey and reading an eBook.
For more information: http://www.rnib.org.uk
Digital Reading Groups help visually impaired and older readers access ebooks and join in with reading groups from a distance.
Digital Reading Groups is a new idea from The Reading Agency. Older people in Stockton and Sunderland will be matched with young volunteers from the Agency’s Reading Activists programme, who will help them set up the right technology for reading digitally. Older, digitally-savvy volunteers will also help support the readers throughout the programme, with reading group sessions both in local libraries and online, all supported by volunteers to get over any barriers whether digital or physical.
The user can then join a virtual or online reading group giving older people especially those with a visual impairment an online and real-world way to connect with each other, family and friend through a shared interest in books.
The Reading Agency is currently prototyping this work and looking for further funding to expand.
For more information: http://readingagency.org.uk/
The Lifetime Homes Standard was established in the mid-1990s by a group of housing experts to help older people and those with mobility difficulties to live well in any property.
Lifetime Homes are ordinary homes incorporating 16 design criteria that can be universally applied to new homes at minimal cost. Good design, in this context, is considered to be design that maximizes utility, independence and quality of life, while not compromising other design issues such as aesthetics or cost effectiveness.
Housing that is designed to the Lifetime Homes Standard is convenient for most occupants, including some (but not all) wheelchair users and disabled visitors, without the necessity for substantial alterations. Many local planning policies (e.g. London, Wales and Northern Ireland) already require the Lifetime Homes standard in new developments.
For more information: http://www.lifetimehomes.org.uk/pages/lifetime-homes.html