Smart textile for independent living: MATUROLIFE enquires about older persons’ needs and preferences

The MATUROLIFE project, in which AGE is involved, has reached one of its first milestones in its design process: older persons aged 65 + have been interviewed in 6 EU countries (France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the UK). The very interesting results of these interviews will feed into the co-design workshops that are being organized in 9 EU countries.
  

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The MATUROLIFE project aims at using co-creation methods to design fit-for-purpose and desirable textiles, taking the shape of clothing, footwear and furniture, to support active and healthy ageing. Co-creation means here involving older people in the different stages of the textile development. In this project, AGE, together with Eurocarers, the EU network representing informal carers, is responsible for the recruitment of older co-creators.

After a few weeks of desk research, MATUROLIFE researchers and designers met and interviewed 37 older persons and informal carers in 6 EU countries to enquire about their:

  • actual needs, wishes, preferences in relation to independent living and new technologies,
  • their attitudes and behaviours towards active and healthy ageing,
  • strategies and solutions to prevent or tackle potential disabilities or diseases,
  • strategies and solutions to improve/enhance their well-being,
  • perceptions on the currently available products and devices they use or would like to use in their daily life,
  • cultural specificities that may affect the design of these products,
  • fashion trends and priorities when choosing and purchasing products.

The interviewees expressed great interest in MATUROLIFE, insisting on the need to tackle the deterioration of physical health, the risk of falling, the change of body temperature, and the increase of impairments they experience when ageing, but also broader topics such as social isolation and independent living. Moreover, interesting discussions were held on their daily routines and their preferences regarding clothing, footwear and furniture.

MATUROLIFE researchers and designers are now using these findings to run co-creation workshops. Four already took place (UK, Spain, Italy and Belgium) and five are planned after the summer. The outcomes of these new rounds of discussion will then inform the design and development of product prototypes.

Stay tuned for updates!

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