Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - 26

SHOW REVIEW
OPENING KEYNOTE
Th e long runway
R
EFLECTING ON THE saying " art is long,
life is short, " industrial designer Ayse
Birsel, co-founder and creative director
of Birsel + Seck, a New York design and
innovation studio, kicked off this year's
conference with a message to attendees that life
isn't as short anymore. " We're here now at the
forefront of designing for a long life, " Birsel said.
Birsel's career includes creating products and
systems with Fortune 100 and 500 companies as
well as authoring the book " Design the Life You
Love, " a step-by-step guide to building a meaningful
future. She next turned her skills toward
designing a better life for people as they age.
One of her fi rst projects was with Amazon
to co-design products with older adults and
their caregivers to gain an understanding of
overlooked or unheard needs and wants. Th is
eventually led to work on the same topic with
Th e SCAN Foundation, an independent public
charity focused on transforming care for older
adults. The one-and-a-half-year research
program involved seniors across the U.S., asking
them: " How would you like to design your
life? "
Noting that most research that had come before
had a reductionist viewpoint about older
adults, Birsel said she heard the opposite from
participants during her studies. " What we
found was that people had a very expansionist
point of view, " she said.
Furthermore, Birsel noted that people are the
masters of their lives at least twice-during their
20s when they fi rst leave home and again later
in life after their children have moved out of the
house or they've retired. " Th is is a great moment
to explore what we want out of this life, " she said.
To help guide older adults through this transition,
Birsel said it's important to design a " long
runway " that allows time for people to adjust to
changes-something that's especially important
today as seniors live longer and can experience
decades more of living after retirement. " Seniors
are long-life astronauts, " she said. " Th ey're going
where no one else has gone before. "
Another guiding principle to consider, she
noted, is the concept of " same diff erent " or the
26 | summer 2022
We're here now at the forefront of
designing for a long life. "
-Ayse Birsel, Birsel + Seck
idea that what older adults want isn't that much
different from what other generations want:
love, vitality, work, and friendship. Th e diff erence
is what seniors need to achieve them.
For example, new friendships can be made,
she said. To help foster these relationships, senior
living communities should create " friendship
factories, " such as shared spaces or hubs of
interest where residents can gather to meet or
learn new activities together.
Considering a sense of purpose, Birsel said
early in life a person's sense of purpose is tied
to social constructs, such as school or career
and family expectations. As we age, she noted,
many people learn to create a self-made
purpose-which many seniors view as a welcome
opportunity. Sharing anecdotes from
her research, she said one participant told
her, " Starting something new is feeling young
again. " Another said, " Th is is the perfect time
for making stuff happen. "
To that point, Birsel said that as she began
working on her new book, " Design the Long
Life You Love, " she originally thought her target
audience was older adults before realizing the
lessons can be applicable to everyone. " Th ese
users [seniors] are resilient, adaptable, pioneering
experts of life, " she said. " When we solve for
them, we solve for everyone. " -Anne DiNardo,
executive editor
efamagazine.com
http://www.efamagazine.com

Environments for Aging - Summer 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Environments for Aging - Summer 2022

Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - Cover1
Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - Cover2
Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - 1
Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - 2
Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - 3
Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - 4
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Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - Cover3
Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2022summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2022spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2021Winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/Summer2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/Spring2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/fall2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/summer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2020summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2020spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2019fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2019summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2019spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2018fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2018spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2017fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2017spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2016fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2016spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/201510
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com