At ElderGadget, we usually review existing products to dissect and highlight their elder-friendly features. For example, is the new Sony television set too glossy for sensitive eyes? Are the buttons on an alarm clock large enough to read?
But we’re taking a different approach in this post. We’re feeling a tad playful, loony, and a bit more creative than usual. So instead of reviewing products that you can simply order from Amazon.com, we’re going to discuss hypothetical products–ideal products for seniors that would be readily available if ElderGadget ran the world.
Call this the “What if?” post. What if someone designed golf clubs,cars, computers or iPhones specifically to appeal to the needs of seniors? What would these products look like or feel like? Here are a few ideas:
For many seniors, golf isn’t just a casual hobby, it’s an obsession that’s as important as sleeping, breathing and eating. But golf is an intricate sport that requires the right level of skill and patience, not to mention the proper equipment – namely, clubs that compensate for physical shortcomings without messing up your game.
Our ideal golf clubs would have:
- Nice large grips so our hands don’t end up slipping all over the place.
- A large, efficient head, because we want contact with the ball to be a sure thing.
- A hybrid club, which is a cross between wood and iron clubs, because hybrids can transfer more of the swing into the ball.
- Golf clubs with HUGE numbers on the head. That way, when you pull the club out of the bag you don’t need to put on a pair of bifocals to figure out which one you’ve chosen.
We all need to get from the supermarket to the cleaners and back to the house. As we mentioned in a previous ElderGadget post about senior-friendly cars, we’re not just looking for four wheels and a seat. We’re looking for “safety, maneuverability, comfort, roominess and, most of all, peace.”
Seats that would easily recline forward and come complete with heaters, which would relieve the back tension caused by previously hunching over the wheel.
A rear-view camera that could help us back out of driveways. A blind-spot warning system wouldn’t hurt, either.
An automated GPS system that allows you to focus on the road rather than on a piece of paper with chicken scratch directions.
Lastly, our ideal car would have a nice big steering wheel with a comfy grip.
We all know someone who refuses to catch up with technology and use a computer. The grievances generally range from “the screen is too small” to “I don’t know how to use ‘em.” We want a computer that won’t give seniors a reason to complain. This way, there would be no excuse for not reading ElderGadget.com!
Our Utopian computer would be:
- Simple. Simple. Simple. This simplicity should extend to everything from easy access to popular applications and even automatic password savers.
- Complete with a range of video tutorials that explain how to use the computer and its applications.
- Ergonomically friendly – not just when it comes to the monitor, but to the keyboard and mouse as well. We don’t want to strain our wrists, hands or fingers while browsing the web.
- Fitted with a nice large monitor so we don’t have to squint every time we want to upload new photos.
- Supported by a friendly and effective customer service staff. They should be ready with quick and effective answers to our questions.
Arguably, the iPhone is the coolest gadget of the decade. ElderGadget has thoroughly covered iPhone apps that are elder-friendly (both hereand here), yet the iPhone’s industrial design has a lot of catching up to do on the senior front.
To be a completely elder-friendly application we’d like to see:
- An iPhone with actual buttons that aren’t so hard to press. If you don’t have impeccable fine-motor skills, the current iPhone is pretty unusable. We aren’t saying we need big, ugly buttons–just manageable ones.
- Rubberized grips on the sides of the phone so that we don’t risk dropping it when we’ve got it turned sideways to take a picture, but then have to turn it vertically to take a call.
- Simply put, a larger screen. It’s currently a 3.5-inch (diagonal) screen, but it wouldn’t hurt if it was four inches or bigger.
We don’t have the manpower, money or brainpower to start making these ideal gadgets a reality. But if anyone knows Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Tiger Woods or the guys that are running Ford these days, feel free to pass our ideas along.