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Age-specific technology: A demographic challenge for design

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Chapter Summary

Changes in demography have recently generated considerable interest in designing products for the over-60s, by implication, 'the older generation'. The onset and speed of the ageing process are also fairly individual, depending upon the decade of birth, and on health, nutrition, exercise, work and social activities throughout life. There is a deterioration of vision due to changes in the normal ageing eye which may be exacerbated if the individual has a degenerative eye disease, the likelihood of which increases with age. There are changes in the ear due to normal ageing which may be exacerbated by illness, disease and/or cumulative workplace effects. Hearing begins to decline in the age group 10 to 19 years and becomes more pronounced as age advances. Consideration of hand function and how this may change with age is important, because it affects people's ability to hold and use tools, and to manipulate controls and products.

Keywords: ageing process; designing products; hand function; hearing

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