The Designer's Role in the Ageing Process

in European Journal of Social Quality
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Designers of the products and environments we use have a significant responsibility to maintain quality of life for elderly and disabled people. Their ability to achieve this is limited both by information available to them and by the attitudes of society. The fact that we age is immutable and predictably changes the nature of our lifestyles. The environments around us and our daily living tools enhance our abilities to fulfil our lifestyles. In the kitchen, for example, the basic need of food preparation is rendered highly efficient through the layout of work-tops, sink and cooker and made quicker by tools such as mixers and microwaves. Designers have created these tools which meet the needs of the large majority of potential users. Designers can therefore also meet the change of needs resulting from the effects of the ageing process.