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The European voice for informal carers

Assistive furniture, clothing and footwear designed with and for older adults and their carers are becoming more real!

Eurocarers together with AGE Platform EU and all the design and creative partners, recruited and streamlined processes for older adults (above +65 years) to take part in interviews and co-creation workshops in 9 partner countries during Summer and Autumn 2018.

The top threats to independence of older persons, as expressed in these workshops are among others:

  • Feeling unsteady on their feet and fear of falling
  • Easily getting too hot or too cold
  • Feet swelling and poor circulation
  • Easily dehydrated
  • Sleeping less well and poor sleep routine
  • The need to alert someone (such as a carer) if feeling unwell or have fallen

Three multidisciplinary design teams then developed 3 design concepts which will now proceed to the next development steps:

  • Assistive footwear to support balance and reduce falls
  • Assistive clothing to help regulate temperature and encourage hydration
  • Assistive furniture to enable improved sleep and mobility

The focus is now more on the technical side i.e to ensure functionality and successful integration of the electronic components (sensors) into the clothing, furniture and footwear. Running in parallel is the materials issue, aimed at conceiving “smart” textiles which need to be selectively metallised to ensure their electronic connectivity. This will allow for the assistive products to communicate with the user or their carer based on the collected data concerning e.g. breathing, body temperature, gait, and other vital signs.

Feedback from stakeholders and end users will ensure continued user centricity also in the next iterative development and testing phase

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