Pinnacle staff experienced what it would be like to age 25+ years!

Blum, a manufacturer of cabinet hardware, designed an age simulator suit to help designers and architects understand how the impacts of age affect mobility in the built environment. From picking up a paperclip and counting money to reaching into a cabinet to retrieve a medicine bottle, Pinnacle staff got a glimpse into life as a senior.

“This exercise gave us a new perspective to designing senior living spaces,” said Pinnacle’s Briana Manfrass, Associate Principal and Interior Designer.

The process began by restricting mobility in your arms and legs to simulate still joints.

Special glasses mimic the aging eye and headphones simulate hearing loss.

A helmet replicates loss of peripheral vision and mobility.

The suit includes pockets loaded with weights to simulate the extra weight sometimes gained as you age. Special gloves replicated the tingling and uncomfortable feel of arthritis and loss of dexterity. Teresa Othmer, Interior Designer from Sunshine Retirement Living, gets suited up and attempts buttons.

The eye begins to age around 40, and most common problems occur from 40-60. The normally clear lens located inside your eye may start to discolor. This makes it harder to see and distinguish between certain color shades*.  Shaun Clifford from Pinnacle works hard to pick out specific colored paperclips with impaired vision.

Simple tasks like retrieving change from a wallet and opening a medicine bottle were considerably more difficult.

With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day**, it’s important to understand how our design decisions influence their lives as our aging population continues to move into senior living communities. Thank you to EB Bradley and Blum for the continuing education!


*American Optometric Association.
**Boston University.