ASID: Intelligent Environments for Seniors
As I sat down today at the laptop to begin this article, my mind was flooded with thoughts of “Designing Spaces that are user friendly for our seniors.” My grandmother is very dear to me as I am sure yours are to you. As I write this, she is a very special senior in the hospital. Over the last few weeks of her stay, I have had the privilege to see and listen with an open heart to the needs of a senior.
There is an enormous scope to improve the design of pedestrian environments so that people can move around more efficiently. When taking on the role of designer, we are often placed in positions that allow us the honor of looking at a blank canvas and presenting a new vision of a space. In doing this, we must first study the space. With the growing number of seniors going into hospitals for extended stays, we must not only access the essence of style, but most importantly, the elements around the spaces we create. We must consider the risks of trips, falls, and similar accidents. I recently picked up an article and the headline was “The Suit that makes you feel old.” A lot like the saying, “Have you ever walked in my shoes?”
The ultimate goal in this article talks about our fellow architects, working to engage scientists at Loughborough University to develop and design a suit that simulates old age. This suit would allow those in the field to Walk in the Shoes and experience the mobility of our seniors. What a gift we have been given! The ability to access and design for a “smart” stay at the hospital. After all, we are one day going to be seniors, and in my past few weeks of listening to my grandmother and those in my family looking over her, smart stays not only make our seniors happier and safe, they provide the family members around them security. I would end this by saying: We as designers have a duty to see each project as if it is for our grandmother.