Through my research of the elderly I discovered that the main problem they face is not a physical problem, which I had originally assumed. The problem that affects most elderly people today is emotional.
"The general opinion amongst society these days is, when your old, your a burden" (Duncan Fitzpatrick, 80)
This ignorant attitude that most people have is ignoring the individual and making them lose their sense of identity.
Being 'shut away' in a care home or depending on support from a home help or family member for those who chose to stay at home, is upsetting for people who probably lived a very independent life.
This inspired me to design a product, environment or experience to give the elderly back their independence. The problem I faced was that some elderly people are not independent for a reason. Some would be putting themselves in danger to try to do certain activities. However some are very able. I began to think of ways I could get the elderly together in their communities and use each other’s strengths to give them their identities back.
I also discovered the importance of animals to the elderly. Not being able to have a pet any more is a distressing thing and many of the people i talked to wanted to own a pet. I also found a number of articles documenting the effects of animal on the elderly and their well being and found that being around animals boosts morale and improves mobility. I took this idea and developed a proposal of a community farm/petting zoo. I want the elderly to run the zoo and have the sole responsibility for the animals and grounds. I feel that this will give them a sense of independence.I then went on to research designers and found some interesting creations. I was especially interested in looking into how others had utilised ramps and spaces for animals.
This is my design so far and there is a lot more I want to accomplish. I relay want to explore the interior structure that i have created and show to my best ability users enjoying the project.