I recently came across this news. Automaker Nissan has created a suit that simulates the affects of aging. This suit, worn by auto designers, mimics a bulging stomach, slow reflexes, physical weakness, and even vision problems. The designers’ goal is to make vehicles that are very friendly and drivable for an ever growing aging population thanks to the baby boom generation.
As we age, health problems and physical ailments seem to pile upon one another often making the mobility and coordination necessary to drive a motor vehicle an issue. It is a step in the right direction that Nissan is taking by ensuring that older consumers continue to experience the independence that comes with driving a vehicle, but at the same time, this should also be alarming. This brings up the issue of the large cost that an aging population will have on the nation’s economy. Chronic disease and physical impediments due to age are currently wreaking havoc on the health care system and entitlement programs like Medicare. The Silver Book, launched by the Alliance for Aging Research, compiles statistical data and scholarship to show the exact cost that chronic disease has on an aging America. The numbers are staggering. Without proper investment and research into stopping these diseases and conditions, we might all have to redesign several facets of life, not simply driving. A strategy aimed at research investment and prevention should certainly be our focus.