Gendered innovation to improve kitchen environments for elderly people


Project Summary

Principal Investigator

SAITO Etsuko (Institute for Gendered Innovations)

YAMAMOTO Sakiko (Institute for Gendered Innovations)
OHTA Yuji (Faculty of Core Research Natural Science Division)
OTAKE Midori (Tokyo Gakugei University)
BAMBA Ikuko (Tokyo Gakugei University)
NISHIDA Yoshifumi (Tokyo Institute of Technology)
OONO Mikiko (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)
TAJIMA Naomi(Tajimakikou Co., Ltd.)
ASHIZAWA Hiromi(Skyhook Lab.)

Research period FY 2022 -
SDGs Goals

3(Good Health and Well-being)
5(Gender Equality)
12(Responsible Consumption and Production)

Outline of Research

The average life expectancy in Japan is increasing with every passing year. It is essential for elderly people to live healthy and independent lives, that is, to extend the healthy life expectancy. Since the 2020 nutrition summit, the government has been working to create a food environment capable of realizing this goal. Appropriate meals are essential to creating a food environment with well-balanced nutrition. As a prerequisite, meal preparation, including procurement of food, is important. Prior studies have shown meal preparation as improving the lifestyle satisfaction and independence of elderly people. Specifically, cooking behavior is closely related to improved quality of life for elderly people.
The principal investigator and other researchers have been studying the meal preparation behavior of elderly people since 2017 as part of a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research. After collecting actions as video data, we prepared a behavior classification and completed a code list. While examining the actions, we discovered issues with the kitchen environment, where meal preparation takes place. Thus, this study focuses on kitchen equipment, including the sink, countertop, and stove, as the kitchen environment, aimed at conducting a preliminary survey and building an equipment model toward development of products safe and convenient for elderly women, often in charge of meal preparation.

Research Reports

In this study, a questionnaire survey and interviews on kitchen facilities were conducted with the aim of considering improvements to the kitchen environment for the safety and accessibility of elderly women, who are responsible for most of the food chores within the household. In addition, a measurement survey using a simple model was conducted on the comfortable use of the sink area and kitchen counter. Plus, a miniature model of an inexpensive and flexible kitchen facility was developed as a prototype.

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