OLDER Australians are being invited to have their say on the future of ageing with the launch of a new “living laboratory” research facility in Adelaide.
They are road-testing new products and services for older people at The Global Centre for Modern Ageing in Tonsley.
The centre includes a LifeLab testing facility, which gives people in their 60s and over a chance to co-design products with businesses in a “real-life” environment.
Former IT manager Sonia Bohonis, 62, from Adelaide, is one of the co-designers who has worked on two pilot projects in the LifeLab, led by director Veera Mustonen from Finland.
One project was a collaboration with Potatoes SA and the University of Adelaide looking at how potatoes can be used to create high-nutrition food supplements for the elderly.
Another examined how a prototype device for exercise and rehabilitation could be adapted for seniors.
Sonia enjoyed the “personal, intellectual and social” benefits of being a co-designer and the benefits were “limitless”.
“It gives you a sense that you do have something to offer.”
Global Centre for Modern Ageing chief executive Julianne Parkinson said as well as researching assisted devices and food and food packaging, the centre could look at smart homes and better forms of volunteering.
“It’s about the end user forging design,” she said, and facilitating the design of products and services that allow older people to be on an equal footing.
Baby boomers want to chart their own direction.
“We’re here to give an edge to businesses wanting to gain early-mover advantage in developing products and services which truly meet the wants and needs of the people.”
Key to this is getting people over 60 involved. “Baby boomers want to chart their own direction.”
The centre is in the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide’s inner southern suburbs. It received $10 million in funding from the state government and was opened by Premier Steven Marshall in October.