SD&C has already delivered several Senior Suits for old age simulation to Luxemburg. In this small and charming country in the heart of Europe most people speak French, but they also understand German, making communication and travel easy for SD&C. The latest delivery of a Senior Suit Delta was to the CNFPC in Ettelbruck.
The CNFPC educates and trains persons for old age nursing centers. Like in ever more training centers, the use of age simulation to improve understanding and learning through self-experience was very welcome, speeding up the education process via learning by doing. The CNFPC students, many of them on a secondary educational way, cover a broad age range from 18 to 50 years, which puts on special requirements on the simulation, which the Senior Suit Delta is prepared for. Young students have a strong adaptive ability to cope with sensory changes, thus e.g. the included variable tinnitus of the Senior Suit Delta helps to give them the right impression of what it means not to be able to understand. During the personal introduction into the usage of the Senior Suit for the responsible Mdm. Danielle Meyer (right side in the picture), the setting of the loudness to a point of 50% speech recognition was trained (leading to quite some special misunderstandings). On the other side, the normal setup of weights and bandages of the age simulation can easily be too much for a person 50 years old. Therefore the Senior Suits also allow a fast adaptation of the weights, and the bandages allow a more loose setup. In any case, not to be able to reach down to bend ones shoes is an experience one does remember.
The Senior Suit Alpha 3 does not only deliver a most impressive simulation, it also offers exceptional durability. Because of our participation in many events and workshops, and because of our renting activities, we know very well which element of an age simulation suit has to bear what stress. However, creating our own elements instead of taking them off the shelf always means a lot of work. Nevertheless, with our new Alpha 3 we now offer a specialized goggle in a robust box, more effective and more stable ear pieces and a better cervical bandage. And, in parallel to the improvements, we managed to reduce the production costs, so that we can also offer the product at a lowered price.
Renting age suits all over Europe is not easy, as the logistic situation is rather different from place to place. To be honest, organizing the pick-up of one of our age suits from a place with a different language some thousand kilometers away is quite a challenge. But we love it.
The normal renting period is only two days, but together with the transport times, an age suit rented to a location in Europe is away for one to two weeks. Mostly there is no delivery over the weekends or fees are extremely high, and then different holidays in the different countries have to be taken into consideration. We also experienced labor strikes on the way.
Nevertheless, so far we have always been successful, although often enough a lot of phone calls were necessary. Only once there was a secretary who went into a vacation after renting an age suit from us for her company, and then her backup did not even know what an old age simulation suit is. On another occasion we could talk someone out of having us pick up an age suit from his private living room while away, where he wanted to leave a garden side door open for us.
Transporting 20 kg of weight is by itself not an easy task. If a case including the age suit falls from some height during handling, the load inside has to take quite a push. As a matter of fact, our first packages were getting several problems. But now we have a specialized transport case, as every customer will recognize easily.
All age simulation suits going out from us go through a detailed quality control process. Completeness, cleanliness, and function are checked. And this twice, once when arriving, once when going out.
After internal tests over the entire year 2017 with more than 100 test persons, SD&C is now offering the new Senior Suit Beta 3. The Beta 3 uses a part of the patented Senior Suit Delta, and it has a significantly improved simulation of the movement restrictions in higher years of age. The Beta 3 can be recognized by the black stripes on the sides.
A realistic simulation of the deteriorated movability of the arms and legs in older years is not easy, as the reachable movement angles of the elderly do not differ much from the angles that the younger ones achieve. It is the overall movement, that becomes more difficult in higher years because of arteriosclerotic changes and a shortening and hardening of the muscle tendons.
The first age suits wrongly restricted the movement angles, and some age suits on the market still do. Later age suits were using orthopedic bandages, but these rather have a medical warming and holding effect and do not stiffen sufficiently. In addition, they tend to leave their places or they are not on the right anthropometric positions when built into an age suit. However, most age suits available today use orthopedic bandages only.
SD&C solves this problem by using special restricting bandages with built in stiffening elements. These special bandages can be attached to the anthropometric correct positions by using the fixation system of the Senior Suit Delta.
The technical question was, whether the somewhat reduced system from the Delta would still hold the considerable forces when using the age suit on a typical parcours. Thus tests were conducted. The result was, that the special bandages hold, and the improved effect has received a lot of positive feedback. So now everybody may try it out.
Together with the other high quality realistic simulation elements, like the two stages simulation optics and the hearing deterioration with an electronic tinnitus, the SD&C Senior Suit Beta 3 is intended to establish a worldwide standard on old age simulation based on the human abilities as declared in the International Standard ISO 20282.
SD&C has a fair price policy – offering its age suits for the same price to everybody worldwide. EU countries however pay a smaller delivery fee than the rest of the world. During the last months, SD&C has delivered Senior Suits to countries in all directions from Germany, to northern countries like Denmark and Sweden, to eastern countries as close as Poland and as far as China, to southern countries as close as Swizzerland and Austria or as far as Nigeria in Afrika, to countries in the West as close as Luxemburg or as far as the USA. SD&C has been taking care of all the necessary export customs paper handling, has always been tracking the transports and has ensured that all Senior Suits have arrived safely at the customers doors. While customers may have to realize a small exchange fee from their currency to the Euro, SD&C takes responsibility for the transportation insurance and the money transfer fee. And worldwide delivery has become fast. A recent delivery from SD&C (near Munich in Germany) to Milwaukee in the USA took only 2 working days.
SD&C has already delivered several Senior Suit this year, and customers have been asking for larger quantities. This has not been easy so far, as the simulation suits have become rather complex, just like other specialized jump suits, like diving suits e.g. The fabrication process requires several sophisticated stages to ensure correct functionality for the user in the end. However, the production of larger quantities has now become possible, as our textile design in Leipzig has promoted the production process to a German factory with experience with complex suits, as, e.g., they produce special clothing for fire fighters. The necessary machinery and know how are available. Now the textile production of the Senior Suit is organized in one location, and several Senior Suit can be produced in parallel. The process is digitized to a large extent, and as the only separated stage before delivery there remains the finalization and a further quality control at SD&C.
The EU is now including 28 member states and stretches over 5000 kilometers, from Utsjoki in northern Finland to the mountain of Gibraltar before the Spanish coast. We are about 500 Mio people, we all share passports naming us Citizens of the European Community, we share similar license plates on our cars, and we can travel without border stop from one end to the other.
This also means, that our age suits can come to any place in the EU without a border stop and an inspection, i.e. without delay. Deliveries have become predictable, timing is possible. This only excludes, as a white spot, Switzerland in the middle of Europe, not belonging to the EU, where there still is full customs control at the borders.
Nevertheless, we regarded some of our recent deliveries within Europe as trials, and I have to admit, we had our doubts. E.g. there was a delivery of an age suit to a really far away and high up location in the alpine mountains, a hotel in France near the Montblanc. Could our Senior Suit get there in time for an event? Would the hotel be found, far away from the next city? Would the 20 kg package with the age suit be brought up the small serpentine roads in time? Well, our age suit arrived in time, the event was a success, and we received a very positive feedback.
So, I can confirm, there is nothing to fear, and the overall procedure is easy. After a request for a location and a date, we send a quotation. After accepting it, the age suit will come to you, wherever in Europe you are. And the day after your event, we will come and pick up the age suit again.
Prof. Dr. Simone Besemer and Prof. Dr. Simon Ottler from the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg in Ravensburg visited SD&C in the north of Munich to inspect and evaluate the Senior Suit Delta.
Despite their difference in their size, the age simulation suit fitted both professors, and a weight adjustment on one suit was quickly done. The tinnitus simulation impressed them, because the knew well that many people suffer from it. There were glad to be able to switch these sounds off again. The cervical collar significantly limited the mobility of their heads, and with regard to the elbow joints, a light wrapping of the bandages was sufficient, and both were almost not able to reach up to their own hairs. The simple variants of gloves produced a realistic and not exaggerated reduction of the sense of touch. As usual, visual performance was compared using font sizes on an opticians sheet. Without the simulation, the smallest font (1) could be read by both professors, with the optic’s visor folded down, both needed size (5) to (7). By carrying an empty crate of bottles over stairs, the visitors were able to experience themselves the effects of the reduced strength, and when throwing darts, to experience the effects of age simulation on coordination. Counting money in the simulation suit was of the practical importance, and when sitting in a vehicle, several restrictions were quickly noticed, such as a difficulty to reach for the seat belt.
The interesting question of the minimum size of a sample for market analyses was discussed. ISO 20282 requires a minimum size of 20 persons for usability tests, but recommends 50 or more. This also corresponds to the SD&C-known general industrial standard of meaningful tests in product development, although purely explorative studies sometimes want to get by with only three test subjects. For age simulation a study exists, in which 20 younger test persons in suits were compared with 20 real older test persons in numerous operations, and the results were consistent. An age simulation suit is thus a valid research instrument for demographic change. With the age simulation suit, the university ordered, students at universities will be able to investigate how Germany and Europe can be prepared for the rapidly approaching time when every second person in the country will be over 50 years old.
Denise Cotte, our model for the SD&C Senior Suit Delta, is participating in the contest to become playmate of the year 2015. Denise has already been Miss Waldkraiburg, she was one month’s cover page of the famous Playboy magazine, and she has been the Wiesn-Playmate of the Oktoberfest in Munich last year. Denise studies at the IHK academy and, besides all, is quite a wonderful person.
Our simulation suit almost completely hides away the beauty of Denise. As in the simulation, when getting older the fresh appearance of a person naturally disappears, nevertheless in some cases one can still see, that a person must have been a beauty in younger years. In comparison to real ageing, the SD&C Senior Suit offers the advantage, that it can be laid off again. In the case of Denise, this makes quite a difference.
After discussing the ergonomic changes during the ageing process relevant for a project, the participants of the workshop were testing products themselves aged in an SD&C Senior Suit Delta. They filled a complete moderation board with their notes.
Over the years, I have worked with many well known companies and often was responsible for ergonomics and usability, and sometimes for the entire project. Several times I was invited to travel and lecture even in Japan. This time I also spoke about the different ways companies run their projects, and I presented on market leader’s most efficient form of organization to successfully place products on the market. The participants found this most interesting.
One thing is for sure: The team with Michael Heimrich and Tomas Grupp will develop innovative products, one can already look forward to.
Tinnitus has become a widely spread illness. Some studies claim that half of all people over 50 years of age experience these unwanted ear sounds. Therefore SD&C has decided to include the phenomenon of tinnitus in the company’s catalogue of instant aging. SD&C does now offer a cordless tinnitus headset that allows the experience of eight different tinnitus sounds. These sounds were rebuilt as a simulation with the help of those suffering from the illness. The different tinnitus sounds can be selected by a display in one side of the headset. Changing loudness allows the linear simulation of normal hearing loss with the ageing process. The tinnitus-II-headsets will be included in future deliveries of the SD&C Senior Suit Delta, however can also be ordered separately.
Resting model during fotoshooting of delta 2
The SD&C Senior Suit Delta 2, which has been tested in March and April of this year , is now available. The novelties include improved weight pockets, additional stiffening elements for the back and shoulders, climatizing openings, lateral strip elements to adjust overall width, cable openings, and stronger fixation for the ankle and wrist weights. For those interested in scientific details, an article under the menu entry SCIENTIFC describes the meaning of the innovations in the larger context of modern age simulation.
There are also improvements for the other Senior Suit models. The SD&C Senior Suit Beta 2 is now equipped with the electronic ear muffs, which can simulate a tinnitus sound. And all Senior Suit Alpha 2 are equipped with the improved variable special elbow and knee bandages with stiffening elements. Further changes in the price list are more items to be selected for rent and additional simulation goggles. However the best news for all customers probably is, that pricing for the Senior Suits remains the same.
SD&C has in June 2014 served customers all over Europa. Senior Suits have been sold to research instituts and universities from Danmark to Swizzerland, requests from further countries like Belgique have been answered, and events have been contributed to in Germany and Austria. In Vienna, Hamburg, Bad Segeberg, Dortmund, Berlin, Cologne and Bad Hombach, the Senior Suits were non stop active over the scheduled events. There was much positive feedback. Dr. Sylke Raboldt-Werthe from the Agaplesion Clinic in Seehausen showed herself impressed by how reaalistic the simulation was. She noticed that almost all test persons searching for money were finally giving their purse to a cashier asking him to take the requested amount – Just like in real life.
Am Landesinstitut für Arbeitsgestaltung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf
With respect to demographic change, there are many challenging tasks of modern work design for the institute to deal with. As an example, the necessity for job rotation of elderly workers in certain jobs (like tiler and roofer) due to ageing was discussed, when there typically are not enough alternative workplaces available for them in their companies, while these workers still have years left before retirement. The aquired SD&C Senior Suit Beta will be used by the institute to sensitize for topics like this and similar ones.
The mobility of the elderly is of high interest for us at SD&C. On the one hand, transportation means have to become barriere free, on the other hand the personnel has to be sensitized. We have therefore already cooperated with several automobile producers, with universities, automobile clubs, and transportation services. With the Ludwigshafener Traffic Services there is again one company more that is now going to deliver positive understanding of senior citizens into the local area. To read a schedule with less visual acuity, enter a bus with limited moveability, to pay a ticket with coins hard to identify, walking and taking place with deteriorated balance, and hearing station infos with slight deafness, is quite different from the expected. One just has to experience it for oneself. –
The prototype of the new age suit model Senior Suit ® Delta has been tested. The new ideas added to the previous model Age Suit 2011 include e.g. fasteners, which allow more easy access to the weights in their pockets, further speeding up the dressing process. These fasteners are required by us to hold the weights, even when the age suit is used upside down, although that does not happen often. The tests were showing positive results. Further new features include stiffening elements for back and shoulders, strip elements an both sides to restrict breath taking, air conditioning vents, stiffening elements for the knee- and elbow-bandages, a wider cartridge belt for the underarm weights. The new SD&C Senior Suit Delta will be available starting begin of April.
During the last days I was requested to send an offer for a Senior Suit to a research institute in New Zealand. As this is for us in Germany a location on the opposite side of this planet, it really shows we are active worldwide. As it is, the rather cheap and fast deliveries enable us to keep good contacts with locations everywhere, any point can be delivered to in two weeks time, express deliveries in one weeks time are possible. So the establishment of new relationships comes down to the trustworthyness of the products and the guarantees we can give. Of course, our product guarantee is valid worldwide, and we can deliver replacement parts anywhere. In addition, our products are especially built to be robust and to last on. For example, last year we were using a six year old age suit model 2007 when having a presentation before the German minister for family affairs, Mrs Schwesig. And I am sure we will be able to demonstrate even longer times, once our company is older.
The SD&C age simulation optics have been tested with success. The test also demonstrates how SD&C is developing age simulation devices and tests them for quality. Visual acuaty can be tested with standardized text lines of different height, ranging from minimal “1” to very large “7”. Student Rene is 22 years old, but when using the SD&C simulation optics, he needs lines of size number “6”, just as people do, who are 40 years older, i.e. 62 years old. Without the simulation optics Rene is able to read the smallest lines size “1”.
Der SD&C Senior Suit ® erreicht New York. Wir sind ja mit der Alterssimulation schon gut in Europa herum gekommen, aber der Einsatz für unseren Kunden Grass Roots in New York Ende November war doch noch etwas Besonderes. Carmen aus Hamburg nahm den Einsatz für uns wahr, zusammen mit Einsätzen für die Swiss Re in Zürich und in London. Mehr dazu z.B. in dieser Pressemeldung. –>SD&C
The SD&C Senior Suit allows sensitization for the effects of ageing. The simulation restricts itself to the normal biological ageing process, while geriatric diseases are excluded purposefully. The simulation includes the main effects of normal ageing, as there are: less force, less movability, and deteriorated sensory detection concerning vision, hearing, and the tactile sense.
The SD&C Senior Suit includes the following parts:
- 1 simulation goggle
- 1 set of ear muffs
- 1 neck brace
- 1 jump suit
- 1 special simulation vest with nine weights
- 2 wrist weights
- 2 ankle weights
- 2 elbow bandages
- 2 knee bandages
- 1 pair of white gloves
- 1 pair of wrist protectors
- 1 instructions
- 1 trolley carrying case
Dress up procedure
Selection of test persons. The simulation will add about 30 to 40 years of age onto the present age of a person, depending on the individual fitness. Not everybody is suitable to try this. The age of the test person should be between 15 and 60 years. Elder persons may try the simulation suit only, if they are sufficiently fit. Persons with deteriorated health, weak and pregnant persons should not try the simulation. The simulation should also not be applied to children, if their musculoskeletal system is not fully grown yet. The smaller ones normally are happily satisfied if they get the ear muffs on and are allowed to take a look through the goggles. Over the age span between 15 and 25 years of age, the simulation has a slightly stronger effect regarding physical force while having less effect regarding movability and sensory limitation.
Attention: Nobody must be shocked, depressed, or traumatized with age simulation!
- Dressing up starts with putting on the jump suit. Jackets and pullovers should be dressed off and laid aside, shoes should be taken off. The jump suit is used to protect the clothes and to improve hygiene. The size of the jump suit is adjusted by turning over the sleeves as needed.
- The special vest is put on and the nine weights are fitted into the pockets. The additional weight gives the test person a first experience of what an additional weight means for the body, as with overweight. For weaker than average persons weight pockets may be left empty. In addition to the weight on the chest, the side strips at both sides of the vest may now be used to further squeeze the upper body simulating breathing difficulties.
- Now the knee bandages are put on (four buttons with model Beta, 2 connectors with model Alpha). The knee-bandages simulate reduced movability. The model Beta knee bandages allow different levels of restriction, however only light restriction should be applied to be realistic. It is possible to put the bandages on while a person stands, but it is also possible to do so with a seated person stretching out the leg for the procedure. If a deep camping chair without arm rests is used, the person will later be surprized how hard it is to put on the shoes again and to get up.
- The elbow bandages are put on next (Three buttons with model Beta, 1 connector with model Alpha). The bandages simulate deteriorated movability. The bandages are put on while the arm is stretched out. They should be put on with close contact to the body, but should not be fastened too much. Reaching over the head will be more difficult now, but should not be impossible.
- The heavier pair of weights are now attached above the ankles, but must still allow wearing shoes. These weights simulate the reduced strength of the legs. Together with the weights in the simulation vest, the effect can be best demonstrated when walking up stairs.
- The test person now receives the gloves to put them on himself. The gloves simulate the reduced tactile sense. E.g. unpacking medication is becoming harder now.
- The short and fingerless wrist protectors can be put on to simulate stiffer fingers (basilar bones of the hand).
- Now the less heavy pair of weights are stripped around the lower part of the arms. It should be taken care that a wrist watch does not hurt the test person. Together with the reduced arm movability the test persons can now experience how much more difficult it is to reach out and grip things needed.
- The neck brace is put around the neck of the test person with the opening to the back. This limits the degrees the head can turn sideways, thus also limiting the field of vision.
- The test person now receives the goggles to put on himself. The test persons own pairs of fragile glasses should be put aside to a safe place, while the goggles can be put over stable glasses. The goggle with model Alpha simulates three effects, the peripheral limitation of the field of vision, a more blurred vision, and a change in colour vision. With model Beta there is a simulation optics simulating these three effects more exactly and in addition also two more effects, a light macular degeneration and an increaded need for illumination. Here there are two stages each adding 20 years of age with a vizier. It should be started with only 20 years of ageing, i.e. the vizier should be up.
- Now the ear muffs are put on. With increasing age hearing deteriorates, especially higher frequencies are no longer heard by the elderly.
- The dressing process is now completed, and now small tasks can be given that demonstrate the effects of being old, e.g. putting on shoes with laces, walking stairs, reading infos on medication, opening packages, operating a cell phone or a hearing aid, getting a certain amount of money to pay out of a purse. Tasks with liquids and task which make the simulation suit dirty should be avoided.
Every person in the simulation suit must be accompanied for safety! The fast process of ageing without the normal years of time for adjustment can lead to dizziness and faltering!
When using the age simulation suit for several days, the overall, the gloves and the neck brace should be washed at the end of every day. The overall and the gloves are machine washable, the neck brace should be hand washed. If necessary also the vest can be machine washed and the bandages can be hand washed. The remaining components can be cleaned with a hygienic towel.