Through the Eyes of the Elderly

This article recalls the story of Patricia Moore, who dressed up as an 80-year-old woman to better understand how the elderly interact with products and the built environment.

Lindsey Westbrook gives the background: "In the mid-1970s Moore was the only female industrial designer at Raymond Loewy's internationally renowned design office in New York. She was continually shushed by her peers for bringing up issues of safety and accessibility. As long as they were redesigning a refrigerator door or a can opener, she argued, why not rethink it with arthritis sufferers in mind?

Frustrated that she was not being heard, Moore undertook a massive project, one that earned her a place not just in the history of design, but in the history of American cultural studies. In 1979, at age 26, she enlisted the help of a Saturday Night Live makeup artist, dressed in her grandmother's old wardrobe, and made herself over as nine different women in their 80s. She spent more than three years touring 100 cities in the United States and Canada, taking the bus, shopping, walking the streets, living life as an elder."

Full Story: Patricia Moore: Universal Designer, Undercover

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