Living Well and Happily

I have been thinking about quality of life issues lately.  There was a show on TV recently, featuring several well-known actors and comedians who are well into their 90s and living lives full of work and socializing. How do they do it, you ask? As a designer, I always try to bring these social issues back to a design problem.  A good designer asks how solid and tangible design solutions can contribute to a life of quality and fulfillment.

My clients generally want to achieve the highest level of self-care.  They view their physical or medical limitations as just a problem to be solved.  Like many others, I have come to believe that two of the most important self-care routines are those that involve physical activity and food preparation.  The benefits of accomplishing these two routine activities contribute greatly to an overall quality of life.  And, this is true also for other important benchmark activities, such as personal hygiene, pursuing hobbies, and being able to shop for healthy food.

Studies have shown that perception of control over life tasks increases overall satisfaction and happiness.  Knowing that quality of life is important, a designer can shift the focus to the most important and valued tasks for a particular client. No longer is quality of life simply measured by managing a physical or medical limitation, there should be excitement and energy for the coming day!

I do not have a photo or illustration for you today, so let us imagine this.  You or your loved one wants to cook a few times a week.  But you are concerned about the logistics and safety of how this task can be accomplished.  This is why I sometimes propose an electric cooktop, separate from a gas or electric oven.  The cooktop can be fitted with an automatic shut off that is timed or motion-activated to ensure that the element does not remain on after the cooking is done.   The oven can be secured in many different ways to remain closed and off.  All of the important pieces of equipment are situated in one area of the kitchen for convenience.  The task of cooking may take longer, but the satisfaction of preparing your own meal is priceless.

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