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Accelerator: Workshop Report from Table 3 – Compensation - is the ‘compensation’ a temporary or permanent measure? Lead: Steph Oxley

Posted by Anja McCarthy (Admin) 1 month ago Posted in Innovation for Ageing Workshops


  • How might we ensure that compensations are appropriate to the needs of the individual?
  • How might we help older people not to become reliant on a compensation that should be temporary?


This table attracted a smaller number of participants in comparison to other tables, with a total of 7 - 1 representing a design company, 1 NICA representative, 1 NUTH representative, 1 Newcastle University representative and 3 VOICE members.


The first exercise consisted of listing compensation tools (aids) which are typically used by older people including (but not exclusively) -

  • Walking stick
  • Mobility scooter
  • Crutches
  • Adapted vehicles
  • Stair lift
  • Fold away steps
  • Hearing aids
  • Telephone amplifying
  • Glasses
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Lower level kitchen worktops
  • Tea trolley


Next the group discussed how we, as society, can ensure compensation tools (aids) are appropriate for the individual and how users can be encouraged not to become reliant on using such aids. Subsequently, the group also thought about the potential issues that can occur if aids are used over a prolonged period of time. 


During discussions, good examples were given whereby mental health and personal attitudes also play heavily in the idea that a compensation tool becomes permanent rather than temporary and should not be overlooked i.e.

  • The perception of having a compensation tool visible to a member of the public provides more confidence to the user and also helps the public compensate the user, increasing awareness, patience and consideration of why the user needs such aid, as the health concern which the aid assists, may not be immediately obvious without the visible aid
  • Users who do become reliant on compensation tools may become debilitated, as the user could loose confidence in being able to do a task without the use and support of a particular aid


It was also acknowledged that some compensation tools such as hearing aids, and glasses will be a permanent aid, and not one that could be temporary but becomes permanent.  


The final part of the workshop focused on generating idea. Five ideas were initially explored and three shortlisted for presentation. Overall the table had little time to shortlist their ideas, and therefore were keen not to totally dismiss any ideas towards possible compensation solutions although all ideas generated were based on utilising smart sensor technology and personalised care.  


The shortlisted ideas included:

1)      Smart walking stick

2)      Smart arm chair  

3)      Height altering toilet



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