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Title: All together now: factors that foster older adults' feelings of independence
Authors: Burrows, Alison
Mitchell, Val
Nicolle, C.A.
Keywords: Inclusive design
Older adults
Dependence
Independence
Interdependence
Probe kits
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: The authors
Citation: BURROWS, A., MITCHELL, V. And NICOLLE, C. 2011. All together now: factors that foster older adults' feelings of independence. This paper was presented at the 6th UNIDCOM/IADE International Conference: Sense and Sensibility in the Right Place. 6th-8th October 2011, Lisbon.
Abstract: The combination of current demographic trends, which see people living longer and in better health, and the increasing ubiquity of technology in modern life has encouraged research into making technology useful and usable by older adults. Older adults‘ relationship with technology has traditionally been pessimistically portrayed, but recent evidence suggests that older people want to be able to interact with new technologies in order to remain active and engaged with society. Older adults are keen to make their own choices and do things for themselves but there are tasks for which they often enlist the help of other people, regardless of their ability to perform them on their own. On the surface, this apparent paradox seems at odds with the essence of Inclusive Design, which has always been an advocate for independent living, particularly in later life. Yet maybe the problem lies with how ‗independence‘ is defined – usually taken to mean a lack of reliance on others – and how it is actually perceived by the older population. Therefore, the aim of the study presented in this paper is to explore how older adults conceptualise independence, dependence and interdependence. Probe kits distributed to people over the age of 50 were used as a primary method, and were followed up with supporting semistructured interviews. The probes were designed to enable participants to express themselves on various levels of creativity, generating rich material for design inspiration. Emerging results are presented here and their implications for the design of inclusive and desirable future products are discussed. Finally, the probe elements used in this study are reviewed as a method for collecting data from older adults.
Description: This is a conference paper.
Version: Accepted for publication
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/8897
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers and Contributions (Design School)

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