Do you know Barbara Beskind? She’s the 91-year-old designer at IDEO, a California firm that helps organizations design products with the user in mind. At 91, Barbara is helping the firm design products with senior in mind. INSPIRE(D)!

Check out Barbara’s full story HERE. As I read it, I couldn’t help but cheer for her! She has a background in occupational therapy (OT), designing therapy equipment for the U.S. Army then opening her own OT clinic in the 60s. When she saw a 60 Minute special about IDEO, she wrote to the company, letting them know how valuable her services may be. And just like that, she’s offering her expertise and “senior perspective” on design products that have a older adult in mind.

The “senior perspective” is often lost in this world. I see it all the time - endless staircases up to buildings, tiny print on household appliances, kitchen cabinets that you have to be an NBA player to reach. For older adults, these are significant limitations and ones that no doubt young designers don’t think about when creating.  

Occupational therapy is all about making the world easier to access for individuals with limitations. As we grow older, our eyesight dims, our get-up-and-go isn’t quite what it was and we may need a little extra help hearing the TV. Occupational therapists help to address those challenges. And special individuals like Barbara, help bring the “senior perspective” to the design process.

At Tabitha, we’re always looking first at the “senior perspective,” especially with our Blank Page model of care. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, Blank Page invites the older individuals to think about their goals, their healthcare wishes, their dreams and addresses physical limitations with those things in mind.

In the healthcare world, clinicians often work backwards from that - addressing physical limitations first without thinking about what the individual wants, without thinking about the “senior perspective.”

Have you thought about perspective today? Imagine what your world would be like from a senior view.

Inspire(d),

Christie