Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 2

The elderly face many difficulties and problems in their daily life that most people don't take note of. In my house, I notice that the elderly face a few problems. Since my grandparent is in Hong Kong, I would use some input that came from my neighbour and his grandmother.
These are some of the problems faced by the elderly that I have noticed. I have categorized the problems according to the disadvantages that elderly normally have and introduce one problem and a solution each, such as knee and leg pain, blurred eyesight, weak hands and arms, bad hearing, and teeth problems.
Knee and leg pains
- As mentioned in the previous post, walking is one of the main problems for this area even with use of walking aids. Another problem I would want to address is falling especially on hard surfaces. This would be really painful for us when we have the same injuries, and for the elderly even worse. It may be a little unwise to suggest a soft surface like sand or something like that on every surface, so how can we tackle this problem?
-I have an idea for the solution but it is not perfect but it is all in the thinking process. Elderly who have injured legs would normally have a walking aid perhaps like the one seen below. So since it is slightly bigger than a walking stick, it is possible to add some padding of some sort to cushion the fall.

Blurred eyesight
-For this category, one problem is that, due to the blurred eyesight, it is hard to see certain signs in shopping malls, mostly signs that tell you the direction to go to a certain place. These would affect the navigation for the elderly.
-This problem can be solved by having brighter colours and bigger signs so that those with blurred eyesight would be able to see the signs more clearly.
Weak hand and arms
- One problem is hanging laundry with the hangars on the poles for clothes hanging,(as seen in the picture, it shows the poles for hanging the clothes). The poles are stuck to the ceiling and thus using another pole to hang the clothes will be troublesome for the elderly as it will be straining to hang the clothes especially if the hands and arms are rather weak.

-The solution to counter the problem is using a clothes rack like the one shown in the picture below. As you can see in the picture, it is not placed in the ceiling like the ones in the problem is. As the main root of the problem is gravity, this solution eliminates the root as it is place on the ground so that laundry can be hung with ease. To make things easier, it is much more flexible than the one with the poles as it can be moved to various places.

Bad hearing
-A problem for bad hearing is an obvious one. When there is danger, even when someone is shouting the elderly with hearing problems would have a hard time hearing.
-The solution is also quite obvious. Hearing aids can be used to help the elderly to hear, perhaps the government could make hearing aids more affordable.
Teeth problems
-As the teeth is not functioning properly, some of the elderly cannot eat harder food and must resolve to softer food.
-The elderly could ask the person cooking the food to cook a little longer so that the food is easier to chew.

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