Design project helps the aged

DesignAge, the Royal College of Art project for the ageing population, has teamed up with research group The Henley Centre in an attempt to establish a consortium of companies to develop services and goods aimed at older people.

The two groups made a joint presentation this week to more than 40 companies, mostly from the service sector but including some manufacturers. The presentation featured ideas from Design- Age about ageing consumers, backed up by facts and figures provided by The Henley Centre.

There isn’t a good enough understanding about older people’s everyday lives, says Design- Age director Roger Coleman. “Understanding this better is the key to finding the goods and services they want.”

The project, which has not yet been given a formal title, aims to judge the commercial implications of an ageing population and to establish business guidelines to cope with changing lifestyles.

The planned consortium would act as a core business group and fund additional research and analysis.

DesignAge, in conjunction with The Henley Centre, plans to issue 2000 questionnaires and carry out qualitative research to work out scenarios where design can aid older people.

Founder members of the consortium will be able to steer elements of the research while other companies will be able to join as associate members to gain access to certain elements, says Paul Flatters, head of the consumer group at The Henley Centre.

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