Little is known about the unique challenges older adults with long-term disabilities experience in the home. For these individuals, the addition of "normal" age-related declines on top of a long-term disability, are likely to create complex challenges in carrying out Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, toileting, and transferring. The difficulties and barriers this population face are best documented by direct observation in the home. In this project, we conducted in-home interviews with older adults with long-term disabilities to explore these activity challenges in-depth. By exploring how and why routines for specific ADLs changed overtime, we identified common activity challenges, persisting un-met needs, as well as the solutions being used to address those challenges (e.g., assistive technologies, home modifications).
In addition to the rich qualitative data collected in this in-home study, our team captured photos that document environmental barriers and adaptations among people aging with disability. Collectively, these findings were used to develop educational personas that demonstrate design challenges to support people aging with disability. Each data-driven persona contains a scenario based on a real observation that is supplemented with creative narratives and photos to provide further context to support a design exercise for students.