The most recent OpenIdeo challenge is asking people to think about how we should maintain a state of wellbeing and thrive as we age. Sponsored by the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical research group, I think think poses an excellent question. With more people preferring virtual exercise, the rise of computer desk-jobs, and fewer people buying fresh (as opposed to canned and frozen) foods, how can we promote healthier lives as we age?
A paper by Dr. Becca Levy shows not only did younger people have negative ideas about aging, but older adults often negatively self-stereotype themselves. And, these negative thoughts begin to form long before becoming an older adult. My solution to this problem? Older adults need to play an active role in new age culture. With my research, I plan to engage this demographic in today’s digital culture but also to link the virtual world with the real world, encouraging intergenerational collaboration both online and offline. While that may be a lofty and seemingly impossible goal, I don’t think we’re too far off. HCI researchers are developing tools to promote integenerational communication for family members. Collaboration is the next step, and we need to look beyond the family. Such a narrow point of view!
What to IDEO-ers think?