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Designing for a future where older people will outnumber the young

Centaur Robotics

The Centaur chair is among the products included in the exhibition

THE 2021 Census results highlights many of us are living much longer than ever before.

As it stands, healthy babies born today are expected to live to 104 years-old.

But how are our cities, homes and work/leisure spaces evolving to accommodate this shift and how can design and technology help support the growing numbers in their third age?

A new display at the Design Museum London – The Future of Ageing – explores how design can support a future in which there will be more older people than young.

The display is being showcased in the atrium of the Design Museum until September 11.

Colum Lowe, director, Design Age Institute, said: “The display allows us to demonstrate how design and innovation can transform our homes, workplaces, cities, and neighbourhoods to support us as we age.”

  • By 2040, more than a quarter of the UK’s population will be over the age of 60, with over 70% of us fit and healthy with no need for social care or support.
  • We are expected to spend over 20% less on healthcare and considerably more on recreation, culture, and travel.
  • In the next couple of decades people over 55 will account for 63 pence of every pound spent in the UK, presenting a massive, untapped market for designers, retailers, and service providers.

PICTURE: The Centaur is a self-balancing, two-wheeled personal electric vehicle (PEV) for people with difficulties getting around.

The chair aims to make supported mobility more accessible, more flexible, and more desirable and to spotlight the significant opportunity to expand the mobility market.

Paul Campbell, design director at Centaur Robotics, said: “I want to end the social isolation resulting from reduced mobility. And I believe good design can do that.”




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