The experience story of old peoples bed

  • 06. November 2020
  • Articel,
  • Cooperation projects,
  • News,
  • Success story
The experience story of old peoples bed
  • 06. November 2020
  • Articel,
  • Cooperation projects,
  • News,
  • Success story
Foto: Lauri Semevsky

According to UN projections, by 2050, one in six people (16%) will be 65 years of age or older. In the year 2019, it was one out of eleven (9%). In the United States and Europe, by the year 2050, one in four people will be 65 or older.

2018 was the first year in the history of the world where the percentage of people aged 65 or older in the global population exceeded the percentage of children under the age of five. The number of people aged 80 and over, which was 143 million in 2019, will triple in size by 2050 to 426 million.

The above statistics suggest that in the coming years we are likely to think and talk significantly more about services and products for the elderly.

The choice of furniture targeted for the elderly is poor

If we look at the life of the elderly and their care in Estonia from the point of view of furniture, it can be stated that the supply of furniture intended for private consumers and with parameters and additional functions suitable for the elderly in retail trade is mediocre. It is also customary for welfare institutions when building or renovating their rooms, to purchase their furnishings in the form of a public tender. However, this contributes to a situation where the supplier makes furniture that meets the customer’s specifications as cheaply as possible. On the other hand, the contracting authority may not know exactly which parameters and functions to write down in the project, as no one has systematically dealt with product development based on the needs and wishes of the end user in the (currently still) narrow niche of furniture for the elderly.

We have been keeping an eye on the furniture niche of the elderly and its developments for some time now. In October 2019, we also visited the prestigious AAL Forum 2019 conference in Aarhus, Denmark.

The furniture must be needs-based and comfortable

In the product development project for this elderly bed, we have maintained close contact with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Koeru Care Center under its administration since the beginning.

Koeru Care Center provided very valuable input in the initial stage of product development and has been involved in all subsequent stages. We have also had valuable conversations with the nursing department of Võru Hospital and with people caring for relatives privately.

The aim of this product development project is to decipher and prototype a number of functions that we, as an elderly person or caregiver of the elderly, want to see in furniture. The world makes high-quality functional beds that do wonders with electricity (and sometimes it seems like with magic). However, this often results in a hospital-like appearance and, in our view, a colossal cost for a particular bed.

When developing the old people’s bed, we have tried to stay in the middle ground – so that the user of the created prototype would have the basic needs covered and also some amenities at hand. And to make it all work ergonomically in the best way. We use laminated plywood as the main material to combine the cleanability with the warmth and softness of the wood.

Functionally, the set consists of the following parts:

  • height-adjustable bed
  • bedside / armrest attached to the left or right side of the bed
  • care supplies closet / bench in the foot of the bed
  • separate height-adjustable and tilt-angle console on wheels.

A so-called “one-button radio” with one recordable station, a reading lamp and a motion sensor under the edge of the bed can be added, which illuminates the floor when the legs are placed over the edge of the bed.

During the product development project, we will manufacture 2-3 sets of beds, which we plan to test with our partners in Koeru Care Center and in parallel in some care institutions in Võru county. The purpose of testing is to gather user and support staff feedback on the features and parameters offered.

In a broader perspective, the aim of this product development project is to carry out targeted product development for the elderly in the furniture niche in order to fill the gap between customer expectations and the capabilities of manufacturers. So that the customer can better describe what he/she wants and so that the manufacturer can follow the conclusions of the development project based on

 

Text ja photos: Lauri Semevsky, lauri@tsenter.ee

More information about Centre of Competence for Wood Processing and Furniture Manufacturing is here.

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