Shining a spotlight on designing for aging and dignity

Halifax, NS – Growing older is among the most natural processes that happens to us. It’s a fact of life that cannot be ignored, or avoided. NSCAD professor Glen Hougan has spent the past decade exploring the challenges and triumphs of advancing in age, with a focus on designing for dignity, and ageism in design.

His work in this area will be on display between September 30 and October 11, as he presents A dignity journey: design for health and aging.

“My research involves developing new products to help the aging population,” said Hougan, a professor of design at NSCAD. “I’ve long been a proponent of integrative design and an advocate for design thinking in health care. It’s important to look at all aspects of life through the lens of those advancing in age.”

Hougan’s presentation is in recognition of National Seniors Day, and coincides with the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, both of which fall on October 1. It’s a day to recognize the important contributions of Canadian seniors, as well as seniors around the world. This is what Hougan set out to do when he began preparing his exhibition.

A dignity journey: design for health and aging is a retrospective of Hougan’s design and research work over the last 10 years. This includes design classes on aging, research into ageism and product adaptations, and designs of assistive aid products. His exhibition highlights the design journey Hougan has taken in health and aging during this time.

“Having documented more than 400 older adult–centered do-it-yourself adaptations, I have found that many are not just focused on addressing functional issues, but also on addressing dignity,” said Hougan. “These adaptations provided valuable insight into not only the creative, low-cost ways people try to better address daily living activities, but also into how older adults address issues associated with dignity and control.”

During his career, Hougan has been awarded a Research Fellowship in Healthcare Innovations from the Center for Innovation (CFI) at the Mayo Clinic, and was made the Sun Life Financial Chair in Design in Health and Aging in Canada.

The opening reception for his gala is tonight (September 30), from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Port Loggia Gallery on Marginal Road in Halifax, and runs until October 11, 2019.


Media Contact

Darcy MacRae
Communications Coordinator
NSCAD University