We’re all aware that we’re getting older and that our population is living longer. But what are we doing about it? How are we adapting and learning to plan for lifelong health?

The drug-free approach for managing menopausal hot flushes

If we’re honest, some of us behave a bit ostrich-like and ignore the slow onset of time and ageing. Some act as if this isn’t going to affect them and it’s just a ‘problem’, with ageism becoming a real social issue. At a more macro society level healthcare systems are creaking under the strain of an ageing society. And whilst the tech industry is innovating there's still a lot of untapped opportunity.

One of the challenges, as is often the case, is that the people with the skills and resources to do something innovative about age-related change are not the same people with the need.

We all know that aspects of our lives, minds and bodies will change as we get older, but we don’t really truly understand what this means until we’re going through it ourselves... what will actually happen as our motor function declines? As our bones thin?  As our hearing fails? What will it feel like and what solutions will we want / need to enable us to continue to live our lives the way we want to?

I’m super interested in how technology can help us live longer and fuller lives. But, to be able to develop innovative solutions that are actually going to help, we first need to understand the target users and really immerse ourselves in order to develop solutions that will actually help.

We wanted to explore an area of lifelong health to showcase the type of work we could do. We decided to focus on the topic of menopause as an example of age-related change.

Menopause is a topic that has been 'shhh-ed' and pushed under the carpet for many, many years. Half the population will never experience this, and the majority of the rest have no idea what it will be like and how it will affect them as individuals. And yet this unspoken subject has a significant impact on the social, home and professional lives of women.  

To understand more deeply we carried out a series of workshops to explore this topic, in collaboration with the National Innovation Centre for Ageing in the North of England. We’ve captured our findings in a report which you can download here.

As part of this work we developed an early concept for a ‘cooling device’, to act as a stimuli in the workshops and to start exploring technically what could be possible in a body worn device. This concept is also covered in the report. This project brought together expertise including consumer insight, thermals, device development and design.

We’re really interested in working more in this field, and more broadly in lifelong health. If you have ideas and would like to work with us to develop your future products and services, we'd love to hear from you!

Author
Ruth Thomson
Head of consumer product development

With a focus on the food & beverage, sports & fitness, consumer healthcare and personal care sectors, Ruth leads development of novel products and systems that delight consumers.