Relevance of the “good old days” in designing holistic aged care services

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The issue of demographic ageing is becoming one of the biggest challenges in contemporary societies, and various professional, academic and political fields have been called upon to find solutions for easing the tension demographic
ageing creates in aged care. This paper investigates how elderly people’s past experiences can inform the design process for improved aged care. An empirical study was conducted to determine the meanings that Chinese elderly people attach to their past experiences. The study used interviews and focus group discussions with retired people in the city of Zhuhai in southern China. Following the research analysis, we identified three emerging themes from the interviews focussing on elderly people’s past experiences. These experiences were reported by the participants as having important and perhaps specific meanings for them. The important themes identified in this study were related to the experiences of being in nature, sharing time with family and neighbours and spending time practising skills and hobbies. Such experiences strongly reflect the participants’ lifestyle in their cultural contexts. These experiences have the potential to increase the wellbeing of the retired participants. The purpose of this study is to explore the potential of the “good old days” and how design practitioners can apply this concept in their design practices for more holistic and inclusive care of the elderly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1052-1063
Journal Proceedings of the ... DMI: Academic Design Management Conference
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020
MoEC publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventThe 22nd Academic Design Management Conference - Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 3 Aug 20207 Aug 2020
Conference number: 22


  • ageing and aged people
  • elderly care
  • past experiences
  • service design
  • good old days

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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