Last week our Principals, Adam Fromme and Emily Valentine, presented at the 2018 Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging (SE4A.org). Both were excited to discuss some of their recent research. Below is a summary of Adam’s presentation.
As always, if you would like more information on either of these topics, send us a request at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Four Pillars of Age-friendly Design
While many places, products, and ideas are labeled ‘age-friendly’ this presentation cut through assumptions and anecdotal stories to identify the features of age-friendly design that matter. For example, a park with ADA parking at one end and ADA restrooms at the other may provide desirable features, but fails to provide a desirable experience.
His talk presented an overview on research he conducted over three years to understand the specific needs of older adults prefer in public places. His research identified four categories of needs: Approachable, Intuitive, Equitable, and Valuable. These pillars (and their associated needs) best determine if an older adult is likely to have a good or poor experience by addressing four big questions: Is this somewhere I want to go?, Can I find my way around?, Am I able to fully participate?, and Was it a good experience?
In addition to this deep dive into his designer’s perspective, he provided three action items for the attendees:
- LOOK – be aware of the behaviors of the people around you. Do they seem cold, uncomfortable, confused? What can you learn from their body behavior? Are people moving in an unexpected or unintended pattern?
- ASK – the best information comes directly from the people you are interested in. We cannot assume we know the answer. Looking only provides the questions that we need to answer. Why are you cold: is it because the air temperature is too low, or because the air conditioner is blowing on you? Is this chair comfortable? If not, what kind of chairs do you prefer?
- SOLVE – try something different. Take little steps to find a better solution. Often, little changes can make a big difference. See if it works; if not, try something different. Rearrange the furniture to avoid the air vents. Attract people to less frequented places by creating excitement with new reading materials, music, or attractive lighting.