More Benches, Special Goggles: Taking Steps to Assist Older Travelers

 

By Julie Weed

Samantha Flores was having a tough time getting through the airport. The signs were hard to see, the announcements were hard to hear and the people rushing by made her feel unsteady on her stiffened knees. Finally, with relief, she made her way to a bench to sit down, catch her breath and take off her “age simulation suit.”

Ms. Flores is the director for experiential design for the architecture firm Corgan, and the nearly 30-pound suit was meant to help her, a 32-year-old, experience the physical challenges of navigating the world as an older person. Goggles and headphones “impaired” her sight and hearing. Gloves reduced feeling and simulated hand tremors. Weighted shoes, along with neck, elbow and knee movement restrictors, approximated mobility limitations.