New horizons in design for autonomous ageing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The world is ageing rapidly. Between 2000 and 2050, the number of people aged ≥65 will double as a proportion of the global population, from 7% to 16%, respectively. By 2050, for the first time in human history, there will be more older people than children (aged 0–14 years) in the population. More distinctive is the tremendous increase in the oldest old aged ≥85. This challenges society to adapt, in order to maximise the health and functional capacity of older people as well as their social participation and security.

Ageing is a multidimensional process of change in the physical, mental and social domain, leading to functional decline.

Design thinking has embraced ageing as a topic where it can add to public health interventions. Applications of design and technology can contribute to ‘autonomous ageing’, for example, independent living and life style support, and can compensate for functional deficits associated with ageing. The focus is on supporting and reinforcing the reduced physical, mental, social and functional capacities of older people by applying groundbreaking, innovative design inclusive engineering methods, always starting with a human-centered integrated approach.

Examples of design for geriatric giants include design for falls prevention, dementia care and integrated care.

The establishment of collaborative networks between clinicians and designers, academia and industry is required to advance design for autonomous ageing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • ageing
  • autonomy
  • geriatric giants
  • design innovation
  • technology
  • older people


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