Consumer affairs minister Dr Kim Howells has challenged designers to improve their response to the needs of an ageing population, with the publication of new research on the abilities of older people. Older Adultdata, published by the Department of Trade and Industry, illustrates the needs of people aged over 65.
Addressing the projected increases of over-65 year olds globally during the next 25 years, Older Adultdata has formulated statistics on all aspects of this age group. It records physical changes, range of motion of joints, strength, hearing, sensory capabilities and psychological changes.
Data has been gathered from the populations of the UK, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Sweden and the US.
More than 200 diagrams and tables provide designers with comprehensive details of all physical measurements. Individual figures for both males and females in a number of age groups from 65-99 are also given.
Consumer affairs minister Dr Kim Howells says: “Things which most of us take for granted – twisting lids off jars, reaching up to get things off shelves, moving or lifting everyday appliances, placement of handles on doors and windows – are all aspects of life which need to take account of size and capabilities of older people.
“This research sets out the vital statistics for Older Adults and will be an invaluable source of information to those at the sharp end of design. It throws down the challenge to inventors and innovators to provide a new generation of consumer products which are carefully tailored to fully meet the needs of older people, as well as the rest of the population. All businesses will need to make use of this information,” he adds.
The study follows Adultdata’s publication in 1998 and Childata’s five years ago. The DTI has pledged to fill gaps in the data and look into the special needs of people with disabilities.