Table of Contents
Introduction to elderly
Many countries is wrestling with the issue of population aging. That focuses on the requirements of age group-oriented design in public spaces. This will play an important role in their social interactions and is critically seen in the age category of the elderly. To develop an awareness amongst the designers to evaluate the need of the future, based on the age group studies and ratios while scheming the new products. Considering the senior citizen age group (Age 60+), studying their daily activities, and understanding the routine and habitable environment; the data states their dependency on the activities majorly relies on the seating position.
That highlights, raised and comfortable seating height is preferable by the age group, having considered the effecting factors like body ratio, common disorders in that age group, and designing factors. Recent studies show the increasing number of senior citizens in coming years, for which the experiment on adaptive conditioning demonstrates the current need for mass-produced user group-oriented furniture designs. One foresees the active aging practice through inclusive designs considering the factors of accessibility and space experience for the elderly.
Facing the Facts
Can a sensitive design approach bring a distinct group together with a sense of belonging? According to the International Longevity Forum, in 2018 there were more people older than 65 years than children under the age of 5 for the first time in history. Besides, and predictably, between 1950 and 2050, people aged over 80 will increase from 14 to 379 million. Awareness about universal design as well as inclusive design can be noticed among current practitioners. But, the importance of age group-oriented design is still lacking behind the curtain of alertness. Experience of the space has many factors coworking to give the outcome.
Components like material, scale, anthropometry, planning, etc. In particular, anthropometry, the most crucial factor while dealing with the senior citizen age group has always been considered secondary. As we can observe the spaces for children or babies are designed separately, and the sizes and dimensions are specifically considered while planning. Similarly, to enhance the experience for senior citizens or elder user groups, space, and its components can be designed with precisely detailed considerations.
The current scenario states the challenges faced by elders in their day-to-day activities due to common health issues, weak physical strength, and sometimes temporary injury or disability due to an accident. Through design and planning with well-intentional anthropometric components space can provide a suitable platform for elders for easier movement, barrier-free activities, and strengthening their abilities. The gathered data shows that most of the activities for the elders throughout the day are performed through the seating position. Chair, sofa, or any seating arrangement plays a major role in their life.
Comfort and effortlessness can be achieved through the seating arrangement, with the user group spending the maximum time of day in that position. The study shows all the components related to the seating arrangement, affecting factors, production aspects, and anthropometric study supporting the existing case. Through some surveys and experiments, gender-based studies of comfort and health, a variety of medical issues and cases were seen, and the prime factor of the cost consideration, the importance of user group-oriented design for the elderly is conveyed.
To understand the ratio and proportions of the equipment for the elderly supporting them in the seating arrangements, considering the effecting factors. One can address the improvement in the sectors for universal design and inclusive design over the last few decades, but the dependent factor of user group-oriented design has been missing out. To realize the future need, taking one step ahead for the future scope and following precautions within the period, to provide future perspective designs and plans with good tools and equipment.
Group-oriented Furniture Available market
The demand-supply ratio has been always leaning toward the scenario of a shortage of supply. But initially understanding the supply needs, and studying their basics to clarify the demands are two major steps. In user group-oriented design, starting with the basics, considering the need for a chair in every case is a must for all activities performed while seating. The process of understanding the activities, studying their materials, requirements, and height to perform the activity. On the other hand, best-suited material, components of the chair like the armrest height of the back support, and stiffness of the legs to support on also play important roles.
But most importantly, a rudimentary understanding of human body function, joints, and muscles engaged in the seating and standing action, health issues, and conditions that are commonly found in that age group. The loop forming through all these nodes creates the base work while designing the equipment. This scenario deals with both user group-oriented design as well as age group-oriented design. The question remains as to, what proportions are best suited for elders in the seating arrangement, and if so, is there a need to mass produce such goods considering the future demands?
Every design decision has the potential to include or exclude customers. The inclusive design emphasizes the contribution that understanding user diversity makes to informing these decisions. The results published by European Institute for Design and Disability in 1993 say that, by the year 2050, more than 50% of the world’s population will be crossing the age of 60. The bare minimum limit to call a senior citizen.
There are always special treatments and provisions made for senior citizens to make the process easier and barrier-free for them. The same attitude must be replicated in terms of other design perspectives while designing special case structures. Artificial intelligence is playing a vital role in architecture, the recently discovered and most used software called user interface is also being experimented with in special designing. Listing down all different approaches to look at a design through a variety of perspectives, such as:
- Age-appropriate design
- Accessible design
- Inclusive design
- Universal design
- Disable friendly design
- Barrier-free design
- User group-oriented design
- Tools – supply-demand ratio
There has been a significant struggle in the field of universal design to make college-level students aware of the sensitive design approach. If the importance of sensitivity in designing is dripped within the college years only, then the passing out professionals will be designing more responsible structures. After the Equality act 2010, this awareness has become more of a necessary qualification to be able to design accurately. Today’s need is just not following the norms but developing yourself through a sensitive approach. Design should be focused on – “not people to fit in space, but space to fit in people.”
Material and Method
To understand the human ratio linked with the comfort of seating action, related to age and gender. Parameters considered are dynamic forces, body proportions, comfort levels, and time-bound activities.
In the dynamic of forces while seating and standing action major roles are played by the canter of gravity, the base of support, and the degree of freedom. Also, the most common health issues were addressed such as hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, and replacement cases. Most commonly elder people, are capable of seating at lower levels in very few cases, as well as most all suffer from a painful track to bending their knees while doing any action. With increasing age, the body starts losing its strength, and the legs become weaker to take the body load. But even through this, there are provisions through design to resolve this.
The material of the chair also plays a vital role in the comfort of the action. As well as the presence of chair elements such as back support, the angle of back feet’s, the position of the hand rests, and the weight of the chair itself. After documenting the body proportions, health conditions, gender, and environment. The height range is considered to formulate the overall average. A considerate thought can be expressed through a meaningful design only when the user group is the center of the planning loop.
Output for Oldie
After all, considering the mean of the preferred range as per gender, the fulfillment of supply is also a must. In the current scenario, people have the provision to custom manufacture a piece of furniture as per their requirement in any material and of any proportion and dimensions. Considering this fact in the case of chairs or seating equipment all the companies present right now sell the product at the base price of 6000 rupees. The factor of affordability is essential while planning any such initiative. As long as mass production is considered, the material which is available in the current situation is plastic or fiber.
Through the experiment, result documentation, and analysis part we have concluded the supply part of the chain, but to match the demand ratio strong actions must be taken. This awareness must spread through students as well as professionals to ultimately provide the elderly with the most suitable and comfortable experience in a space.
What future needs
In conclusion, it demonstrates the bare minimum height of seating arrangement in the case of the elderly, while planning a user group-oriented design. Through preferences and choices, it is clearly stated that to fulfill the supply-demand ratio of the current scenario as well as considering the future accelerating growth graph, the need for mass production manufacturing of high-raised furniture chairs for the elderly requires time.