Frequently Asked Questions about the Age Simulation Suit
What are the differences between the suits? Why are there three different models?
In the case of simple age simulation suits, many of the used simulation elements are borrowed from sports equipment. For a first impression this equipment is sufficient. Professional age simulation, however, comes up to higher expectations. Professionals need a very realistic assessment of the changes to evaluate the life situation of the elderly as correct as possible without understatement or exaggeration. The SD&C Senior Suit ® Delta is a special development for that purpose which is protected by patents. Simple simulation spectacles simulate e.g. the altered vision only as a cloudiness of the lens or as a cataract, which is actually a rare disease of old age that does not concern everyone. Therefore the SD&C age simulation optics present the change in visual acuity as a result of a weaker ciliary muscle, which is unique in the world. To demonstrate the changed vision, the spectacles simulate the mean value and the variation range of the functional decrease of visual acuity in higher age. This experience plays a key role in the field of age simulation, as the sense of sight is one of the main human senses and the loss of visual acuity reaches all people in old age.
Beyond the sports equipment there are also practical requirements for the age simulation in professional use. The necessary adjustment of the main weights for smaller and lighter test persons, the firm fit of the simulation elements on the body in a working environment and the easy washability of the suits go beyond the sports requirements. SD&C therefore offers three levels of professionalism: simple awareness (alpha), training (beta), design and testing (delta). The corresponding differences between alpha, beta and delta are shown in detail in the descriptions and the scope of delivery in the catalogue.
Is there a scientific basis for age simulation?
By now there are several institutions that research about the human performance change in old age which have developed their own simulation suits. We know 25 different simulation suits worldwide and four doctoral theses for age simulation. Different methods of simulation are tested and discussed in the scientific papers. The effectiveness and usefulness of age simulation in practical use has been proven, both for teaching and designing industrial products and workplaces.
The SD&C’s age-simulation suit is based on the human performance profiles referenced to ISO 20282. The suits components are designed for aging by 20 or alternatively 40 years. In some cases, performance functions can be changed over 9 steps, partly linearly from 100% to 0%.
It should be noted that the age simulation is always multiplied by the output power of a person. To achieve a subjectively accurate simulation, the initial values of a test person are to be determined and the simulation intensity has to be adapted.
To evaluate age appropriate products or workplaces, the age simulation suit provides immediately usable heuristic values in terms of “Ease of Operation and Usability”. Because of the so-called “magnifying glass effect” the age simulation suit is also useful for the design of products and workplaces for the younger, as it intensifies and clarifies existing design problems. To achieve not only qualitative but also quantitative values, the age Senior Suit can be used with several younger test persons and the results can be averaged.
In benchmark tests worldwide, the SD&C Senior Suit Delta is a top-of-the-line top product in terms of reality of the simulation, ease of handling, quality and design.
How long does it take to put on and off a simulation suit? Do I need to take off clothes and shoes?
With the help of an experienced person it takes less than 5 minutes to put on the age suit which is applied over the clothing. The normal clothes are worn underneath the suit. Even if the simulation is also possible while wearing a dress or a skirt, it is recommended to wear casual trousers to use the suit. The effort of the simulation will keep you warm; therefore coats and jackets should be taken off. It is also possible to wear shoes, to put them on while wearing in the simulating suit is a perfect task to make you feel the instant aging – an experience you should not miss.
Can children participate in age simulation? Do adjustments have to be made for smaller and weaker individuals?
The age simulation for different output ages is quite complicated as the curves for sight, hearing, strength and mobility take different courses. Therefore this question is difficult to answer. The following explanations may allow better orientation.
It is possible to adapt the SD&C Senior Suit to men and women or to children and in general to the starting age and the individual constitution of a test person. The vision can be adjusted with the folding visor of the simulation optics to 20 or 40 years aging. The hearing loss can be infinitely varied via the electronic tinnitus and the joint bandages can be applied with different levels of intensity. The different output force can be changed with nine individual weights for the chest area, with the Senior Suit Delta also with nine individual weights in the cuffs for each limb.
The age simulation suits of SD&C are designed for body sizes between 150 cm and 200 cm and fit even corpulent figures. The weights have a particularly strong effect in age simulation and their intensity can be adjusted. All senior suits have pockets for quick and easy weight adjustment.
To achieve the right effect of 40 years of aging we consider the body weight of the test person or the normal weight for the body size if the actual body weight is too high. We divide the normal weight by eight and deduct two to get the appropriate number of simulation weights. From a weight of 88 kg, all nine weights can be used. For an average man with 175 cm height and 80 kg weight, eight simulation weights would be used. For a slightly lighter average woman of 165 cm size, six weights would be appropriate. To simulate the aging with children with a weight of only 40 kg, not more than three weights would be used.
Concerning the age simulation with children, it is important to note that an aging effect of a few years cannot be represented as their strength will still increase until the age of 30. However it is possible to simulate a higher age with children. Sensory simulation is less effective with children than with adults as they still have a much better ability to adapt to the changes and compensate the effort. With this information in the background, children can already benefit from age simulation and especially have fun with it.
Can the simulation components be used individually and without the overall?
In principle, yes. When using only partial components, however, you should be aware that every component plays an individual role in the simulation technology. In the theory of age simulation the aging process is a complex procedure that consists in the parallel aging of all cells and organs of the human body. The functional compensation possibilities for all actions in old age are limited. If an elderly wants to replace the batteries in his hearing aid for example, he is visually concerned with the difficulty of finding the tiny flap on the device. The limited sense of touch no longer helps him to feel the buttons and if it drops down it may no longer be possible to locate the device acoustically. The bending down also will be much more difficult. The simulation with only incomplete components (only with the simulation gloves or only with the simulation optics) allows the possibility of compensation with the young abilities. Therefore the simulation with partial components does not represent a realistic scenario.
To use the overall is not absolutely necessary with the Alpha and Beta models as the simulation effect is largely preserved without it as well. However, apart from the psychological effect of ‘stepping into the simulation’ the overall also protects the test person’s clothing from the Velcro patches and constitutes a more hygienic way to put on the simulation elements compared to a direct placement on the skin. The fact that the overall warms the body is a desired side effect as it simulates the experience of elderly people to feel less physiological capacity to handle stress and to get out of breath easily.
How to book or rent a senior suit? Is there a waiting period?
Renting a senior suit can take place from one day to the next, but most of the clients reserve their model well in advance, so that the desired suits are available. The date for a workshop, a health day or a supervised assignment should be requested at least one month in advance. To order a senior suit, please choose a model and write a short e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the delivery and invoice address. You will then receive an offer to be sent back signed as a fax or scan. Smaller quantities up to 5 suits usually can arrive three working days after ordering.
Is it necessary to book an instruction briefing to handle the age simulation?
As the age suits are easy to handle and basically self-explanatory, an instruction briefing is not absolutely necessary. In addition to that, you will find a manual enclosed to the delivery. Whereas the simulation suits are easy to use, the artificially aged people regularly ask questions about human aging, the biology and physiology of the process, the possibilities of control, healthy aging and individual complaints that are more difficult to answer. Generally lessees with medical knowledge do not have any problems to answer these questions and develop useful discussions. For clients from other professional groups, we offer introductions to the theory and practice of age simulation as well.
Can I test a senior suit before buying?
Yes. We offer two possible ways: All the suit models can be tested free of charge at the SD&C facility in the north of Munich. The other way is to rent a suit and to get a partial reimbursement of the rental costs with purchase of the model.