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Redesigning the Aging Process

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What if we could change the experience -- and perhaps the progression -- of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia by redesigning the environment? What if a bridge literally existed between design and perception? According to Steve Orfield, it's possible, given a growing body of research suggesting that aging and decline are two separate processes. He founded Orfield Laboratories (OL) over 40 years ago, and has since turned his interest in perception and measurement towards developing multi-disciplinary subjective-objective architectural and product research lab. He recently shared his philosophy about "User Experience" at the Innovations Summit with the Florida Council on Aging among others, he's authored numerous research projects, designed the "quietest room on earth" and created the nation's first research based design architectual collaboration (with firms across the U.S. and Canda).  

Steve's passion for developing new "perceptually clear and comfortable" standards for seniors was born in caregiving for his elderly father as a nursing home resident. For the same total cost of such "typical" environments, Orfield Laboratories is providing the highest level of comfort and preference, while building on precise measurement and evaluation. "You actually have to test the older population and have them repeat what they have seen or heard, because elderly persons are far less inclined to complain or to highlight their age-related disabilities," he says.

Steve Orfield shares the hopeful ways objective architecture is working to mediate, reduce, and reverse some aging-related decline.

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