Collection No 3
“It's paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn't appeal to anyone.” - Andy Rooney
Few of us go into our later days willingly and almost all of us will require some level of support or assistance as we transition from independent to dependent living. The support may be for our mental wellbeing, physical health, emotional balance, or likely some combination of them all – but what is certain is that we rarely go through it alone. Growing old will invariably impact the people around us who love us most – spouses, partners, close friends, certainly our own children – and it’s likely to be one of the hardest things we will ever do.
The need is massive. The elderly population in America alone (classified as 65 years of age and older) is projected to shoot up 78% over the next 20 years. By 2030, roughly 1 in 5 Americans will be elderly, or over 72 million seniors. We are living longer and with more complications – heart disease, diabetes, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), dementia and Alzheimer’s to name a few. Even with all of this, most of us want nothing more that to remain in the company of our friends and loved ones, stay in places that are most familiar and comfortable to us, and maintain our mental and physical autonomy.
There are a number of home care products and services on the market today intended to preserve the autonomy and dignity of our elderly. Some services help with medication adherence; others aim for improved diet and exercise regimen; while others focus on personal information management. So far, most are piecemeal solutions that fail to integrate well with other products and services – or real lifestyles – and are often too confusing and difficult to be used effectively.
Our lives are not incidental. Lives are whole but messy, subtle and nuanced – a daily series of predictable yet fluid events in a network of experience and place. It’s not just about the risk of falling, or making meals, or staying active. It is not just about taking medications, or making phone calls to loved ones, or getting to the bathroom on time. Gracefully aging in place is about the natural and meaningful interplay of routine and the infinite number of moments in between.
We see the rising “internet of things” – including the connected home and car, wearables and sensing – as one of the most exciting new frontiers in health care. So a small, passionate band of frogs are investigating how these emerging technologies might bring relief, ease, support and even joy, to those still at home and the people who care for them.
True to form, we’re currently engaged in primary research – interviewing elders, caregivers (both relatives and professionals) and home care subject matter experts to better understand their key challenges. This research drives our platform, product and services concept exploration. We know we are headed towards a dramatically different world, both technologically and demographically and while none of us can predict the future, we at frog certainly believe in shaping it.
We’ll be sharing our thoughts, ideas, methods and processes as we go and we’d love to have your voice in the conversation. Follow our progress and lend your insights via Design Mind.
Yours in better care for us all,
The Aging in Place frog Team