Patricia Bo-Ran Han, Rachel Emonts, Fiana Lu, Yuet Ching (Janis) Law, Alicja Mazierska
Everyday activities, such as donning shoes can become more challenging as we age due to physical changes of our bodies. Peel Heel shoe was designed to provide older adults (65+), who are experiencing a decline in hand function and visual impairments, a fast and easy way to don their shoes independently. A user-centred design was utilized to gain a clear understanding of which areas of difficulty this population experienced when donning shoes: manipulating shoelaces due to decreased fine motor control, weak grip on shoe aids due to decreased hand grip, as well as difficulty perceiving colour contrast between shoes and laces. To capture factors surrounding the user, the task’s needs, and the demands of the context, multiple analyses guided by the person-environment-occupation model were conducted. Using the criteria found in the analyses, numerous prototypes were designed, evaluated and critiqued, ultimately leading to Peel Heel. Peel Heel is a laceless shoe with a Velcro-fastened heel backing for easy access that minimizes fine motor and handgrip strength requirements. The vibrant coloured Velcro straps allow older adults with visual impairments to don their shoes in a safe, fast and effective manner. The removable backing allows users to easily slip into the shoe and once fastened, will decrease the risk of falls as well as increase confidence in older adults by enabling them to regain independence with their activities of daily living.