There are many considerations to take in to account when creating health material for the elderly. Memory is a large factor to consider when making the content, so making the print memorable can accommodate the cognitive and physical changes that occur in the elderly. “We all know that many things change as we age. In normal aging, our bodies and brains slow down, though intelligence remains stable. We are less physically and mentally flexible, and we take more time to process information. Memory changes occur as well, and it’s common to have greater difficulty remembering names of people, places and other things as we age” (Alzheimers Association).
When reading material, elderly people may have difficulty:
- Process information quickly
- Understand text that is densely packed (making them minimal and easy to read could help dramatically)
- Focus on important information without being distracted
- Problem solving
- Manipulate different types of information at the same time
When designing test for elderly, it is important for the content to be:
- Direct and specific
- Limited number of key points
- Offer a manageable number of action steps
- Use positive statements
- Support information with real examples
- Use of pictures to illustrate information
- Repeat main points
- Reinforce main points with questions
- Be precise.
- Keep it short.
- Make it easy-to-understand.
- Use everyday language.
- Focus on action steps.
Designing Text for Older Adults
So, what’s next?
- Use serif typeface for print materials
- Make type size at least 12 point, 13 point, or 14 point.
- Use white space
- Upper and lowercase letters
- Double space where possible
- Mainly use bold
- Avoid yellow and blue and green in close proximity
- Create contrast
- Keep the layout simple
- Build in breaks for the eyes
- Use easy-to-read fonts
Institute, N. and Aging (2011) Making your printed health materials senior friendly. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/making-your-printed-health-materials-senior-friendly (Accessed: 15 November 2016).
Ageing, Memory Loss and Dementia: What’s the difference? (No Date) Available at: http://www.alz.org/mnnd/documents/aging_memory_loss_and_dementia_what_is_the_difference.pdf (Accessed: 15 November 2016).