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OCR for page 68
s Strategic Recommendations In order to bring human factors methods to bear productively on the problems of an aging population, two thugs will be required. The first ~ to get ex~st~g and future human factors knowledge into effective use. One vehicle for accomplishing this would be the cry ation of a handbook on human factors and aging. There are human factors handbooks a~railable for the design of equipment, specifically for military ~d certain other kinds of equipment. But by and large the existing handbooks are directed at the young and occupationally specialized segments of the population. Their norms and the kinds of tasks for which the data and principles have been selected are not well chosen for efforts concerned with the problems of the elderly. A handbook containing relevant background data and what is cur- rently known about analysis and solution techniques specifically with regard to older people would be valuable. Such a handbook should provide ~ reference for architects, system developers, and designers as well as for hump factors researchers and practitioners. Prior to the compilation of such a handbook, it would be useful to have a thorough literature review on human factors =d aging. While such a review might discourage publication of a handbook due to scarcity of data, it is as likely to encourage it as a means of codifying avail- able data and pointing the way for future research. In addition to a textual compendium of such knowledge (which might also be made available on computer disks), mechanism for instructional disserni- nation might be useful. For example, we think it would be useful to 68
OCR for page 68
STRATEGIC RE;COA~JDATIONS 69 offer short courses on hum" factors for the aging to product design- ers and architects and to gerontologists ar ~ specialists in geriatric and rehabilitative medicine and social services. With regard to encouraging more research of the kinds we urge, various mechanisms suggest them,3eives. Principally, what is called for is Braising the consciousness of human factors specialists con- cerning the problem of aging. The best way to do that is to over fuming for related research. However, there "e some other useful mechanisms available as wed. Summer schoob =d short workshops for graduate students and faculty with backgrounds ~ human factors or disciplines related to human factors would be one such mechanism. The creation of internships arid graduate fellowships for support of thesm research specifically ~ human factors for the aged would be another. In addition, the sponsorship of focused conferences ~d workshops (e.g., on vision testing ard driving or stairway design) would be useful. What ~ needed most is a commitment on the part of policymakers, funding organizations, and scientists to devote resources to the study of problems relearnt to older adults. -