Community voices in design practice: a case study of understanding older adults' clothing needs for keeping warm at home

GWILLT, Alison, HOMER, Catherine, SHERRIFF, Graeme and CHILDS, Charmaine (2015). Community voices in design practice: a case study of understanding older adults' clothing needs for keeping warm at home. In: BRITT, Helena, MORGAN, Laura and WALTON, Kerry, (eds.) Futurescan 3: Intersecting Identities. Creative and Print Services, Loughborough University.

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THIS PAPER DISCUSSES OPPORTUNITIES FOR DESIGN IDENTIFIED THROUGH A RESEARCH INQUIRY INTO THE PERCEPTIONS AND ATTITUDES OF OLDER ADULTS TOWARDS EXISTING CLOTHING PRODUCTS USED TO KEEP WARM AT HOME. There is a well-established market of performance sportswear brands and clothing producers that have developed garment solutions for people to enjoy outdoor activities in the cold (O’Mahony 2002). However, there is a gap in our understanding of how to protect older people from becoming chilled and cold at home, particularly against a backdrop of rising fuel bills and concerns of fuel poverty. While old and frail older people can feel cold at any time, the relationship between winter, cold and illness is a major health concern (Public Health England 2014). Funded by a Research Design Service for Yorkshire and the Humber (RDS YH) Public Involvement grant, an interdisciplinary team of fashion design, health, and sustainability researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Salford conducted a pilot study to understand the behaviours of older adults living in different domestic environments at risk of indoor cold. Through focus groups and semi-structured interviews, the team sought to identify the body regions where 63DR ALISON GWILT, CATHERINE HOMER, DR GRAEME SHERRIFF, PROFESSOR CHARMAINE CHILDSolder people feel cold when at home. The interviews were also used to understand their attitudes to natural fibres, advanced textiles and insulating garments used to provide warmth. In addition, data was gathered on: the types of clothing used; perceived effectiveness of clothing; material preferences; and additional coping strategies that older adults adopt to increase body warmth in the home.Within the paper we profile and compare specific behavioural practices that are adopted by older adults to keep warm in domestic environments and discuss the opportunities for design to meet the physiological and psychological needs that older adults may require. The initial analysis of data gathered during the pilot study has indicated that there is a need to improve thermal comfort for older adults at home. Consequently, an ongoing program of research activities is being developed to extend the work further. The pilot study data has helped identify the challenges and potential for design and at the same time has revealed the value of insight that can be gained when engaging communities of people in design activities.

Item Type: Book Section
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 19 May 2023 11:39
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 14:46

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