Designing for the Other ’Hereafter’: When Older Adults Remember About Forgetting

Publisher:
ACM
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2016, pp. 721 - 732
Issue Date:
2016
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Designing to support memory for older individuals is a complex challenge in human-computer interaction (HCI) research. Past literature on human memory has mapped processes for recalling past experiences, learning new things, remembering to carry out future intentions and the importance of attention. However, the understanding of how older adults perceive forgetting in daily life remains limited. This paper narrows this gap through a study with older persons (n=18) living independently using self-reporting and semi-structured focus groups to explore what they forget, how they react, and what mechanisms they put in place to recover from and avoid forgetting. Findings include occurrences of prospective and retrospective memory lapses, conflicting negative and neutral perceptions, and techniques to manage forgetting. Participant responses indicate that an awareness of forgetting fosters internal tensions among older adults, thereby creating opportunities for further design research, e.g., to defuse and normalise these reactions.
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