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We acknowledge generous lead sponsorship from the New Retirement Forum, as well as the collaboration of Aging 2.0.

The Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge 2014 is a new competition aimed at encouraging students to design products and services to improve the lives of older adults. The challenge topic is chosen in collaboration with aging service providers and investors, who identify the most pressing needs. Finalists will be given the opportunity to present their designs and discuss possible further collaborations with interested industry partners.

The goals of the annual Design Challenge are threefold:

• Create well-designed, practical solutions that address key issues associated with aging

• Encourage a new generation of designers to become knowledgeable about aging issues

• Provide promising designers with a path to drive change in the world

This year’s challenge will focus on designing new solutions that will keep individuals with cognitive impairment independent for as long as possible. This challenge is not just about direct care-giving and support for disease. It is about quality of life, personal independence, and helping people experience the best parts of life for as long as possible. Solutions may take the form of new products, services, or programs. They may apply directly to the person experiencing dementia or to the family and caregivers that provide support.

Before selecting this topic, we talked to industry experts, academics, and number of forward thinking investors to try to determine where new solutions could have the most impact. We found a consensus that current care models do not align with consumer preferences and are neither scalable (not enough caregivers) nor widely accessible (high cost of care).  The facts driving these conclusions include:

• Most surveys show that over 80% of older adults want to age-in-place

• There are 75.8M Baby Boomers but currently only 3M residential care beds.

• The World Health Organization estimates 36m people suffer from dementia worldwide today. This is projected to double by 2050.

• The cost of 24-hour supervised memory care ranges from $6,000 to more than $10,000 per month depending on the setting (e.g. assisted living vs home care).

Individuals with cognitive impairment are a large and growing group with a challenging set of usability and design constraints. Solutions that can meet these needs will also likely address the needs of a broader cross-section of the population. Designers are encouraged to give particular attention to:

UI / UX design: This needs to be intuitive and integrated into people’s daily routines since remembering to do a task or knowing when/how to use a particular tool could be problematic for this audience.

Behavioral design within the context of cognitive impairment: Triggering desired behaviors and promoting engagement.

Sensory / Mobility: As this issue is being addressed in the context of aging, age related changes in vision, hearing, eyesight, dexterity, flexibility, and mobility must be taken into consideration. As part of the challenge brief, we will provide additional information about common age-related changes such as cognition, mobility, flexibility, sensory perception as well as other common other psychosocial factors at play.