It begins with a problem
The Creative Journey of a visual aid I called Daily Dozen: Visual Exercise Guide—for Seniors 65+ began with a problem of social isolation and physical inactivity among seniors. This Creative Journey took many steps and curves along the way but there were three milestones I want to share with you.
1. The first milestone was research—we wanted to know why there was a problem, what solutions were available and how we could fix it. Most of the resources we found were available only online in a written form so seniors with language barriers would not be able to access or use them.
2. The second milestone was creating a visual aid, an exercise guide that would be simple and safe, yet addressing three most important elements of the exercise routine: balance, stretch and strength. We had the privilege of working on this project with a registered kinesiologist who decided what kinds of exercises should be included in this guide.
3. The third milestone was design; style, colour and fonts with seniors in mind. It is important that the design of the visual aid reinforces the message and this can be done only through testing different styles. The seniors chose the style and the management approved the quality, size and material.
Let’s talk about each of these in detail.
Why was there a problem? We found that there are several reasons why seniors face social isolation and physical inactivity.
1. Most common reasons are
- Lack of knowledge; sometimes seniors don’t know how, where and when to exercise.
- Living conditions; like living alone, lack of access to the Internet, technology and language barriers, immobility or weather.
- Lack of a common area at the entrance of the building.
2. Are there any solutions available?
- There are many resources such as written publications and videos online but they are not available to people who lack access or knowledge on how to find them.
- Many written publications don’t contain any graphics.
3. What was our solution?
- Since we learned that seniors used hallways for their walking routine, our solution was to install a visual exercise guide on the hallway walls of a senior residence as a supplement to their walking routine.
- It could be available to all seniors regardless of their ethnic background and skills or access to the Internet.
✔︎ Creating Visual Aid
This project required several photo shoots with a model to make sure we got the right exercise set and it had to be done in steps:
- Our kinesiologist made a list of exercises that could be used as a supplement to the walking routine.
- The seniors decided what exercises they preferred.
- The residence management had to approve these exercises for safety and liability.
- Every exercise’s true representation had to be approved by the kinesiologist.
We created examples of different designs so our seniors could pick their favourite and the management could approve it for installing it on the hallway walls. The design had many requirements:
- The recipients were seniors who may not be able to read so they had to contain easy-to-understand illustrations.
- The colour palette needed to be appropriate for the people it was meant for and the space.
- Captions in a simple, large, clear font written in English and French, two official languages in Canada.
- Small enough to easily print and install by the management but large enough to see the details by the seniors.
- The visual aid could not become a reason to crowd a hallway.
12 posters illustrating 1 exercise per poster in a simple colour drawing with captions in 2 languages that could be spread on hallway walls of each floor in the senior residence.
It would serve as an interactive art where people could look at it and use it during their daily walking routine.
It needed to be done in more than one format to make sure it could serve all parties involved. I called this visual aid Daily Dozen: Visual Exercise Guide—for Seniors 65+. It was inspired by the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults – 65 Years & Older which was available only online and only to those who would be able to search for it and who would be able to read it because it did not contain any graphics. I found it on the website of CSEPguidelines.ca.
The Creative Journey of the Daily Dozen began with a problem. We accomplished our goal of creating this visual aid through three milestones:
- Creating a visual aid
This project took about a year to complete and it was only possible by the contribution of knowledge and time of many people.
- Daily Dozen: Visual Exercise Guide—for Seniors 65+
- Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults – 65 Years & Older
Download free of charge 1-Page Poster of Daily Dozen: Visual Exercise Guide—for Seniors 65+
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