Design Guidelines for the Development of Mobility Products for Older Users
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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Mobility limitations in the growing US older adult population lead to negative functional consequences such as falls and increased functional decline. When these factors combine with the existing changes in the aging process, such as sensory and physical decline, the older adult becomes susceptible to decreased functional capability, limiting their opportunity to remain personally independent. Participation in regular physical activity can maintain or improve many of these functional changes; however, participation levels are currently low. Identified barriers to activity suggest that the application of accommodations to the products, activities, and lifestyle choices has been shown to be beneficial in promoting activity in the older adult. Unfortunately, the product offerings doing so have been difficult to access in the at-home setting. Through the application of product design, many of these accommodations can be included into the products that offer beneficial movements within the preferred lifestyle of the older adult through product modifications and enhancements to the characteristics of the activity products they use. These accommodations are synthesized into a collection of design guidelines that promote mobility to the aging process in three areas, Lifestyle, Mobility, and Ergonomics. When applied to the product design process, designers may be able to promote mobility among the older adult population through improved design solutions that account for the barriers to physical activity.