Design Portfolio Final Year Thesis

Final Year Thesis

Brief: Redesigning a meditative light for the elderly to help them cope with anxiety.
User: Elderly (70 – 80 years)
Duration: 6 months (1st October 2018 – 27th April 2019)


According to National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE, 2011), India is soon to be the home to the 2nd largest number of older people over the world. Projection studies indicate that the number of 60+ in India will increase to 100 million in 2013 and 198 million in the year 2030.

With the population growing at a steady rate, it’s important that the needs and wants of the elderly should be met. Along with the health issues that they face, their mental health is often left under diagnosed by health professionals, and the symptoms are often mistaken to be a part of their health issue. According to WHO (2017), approximately 15% of the total elderly population suffer from a mental disorder.

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health issues that the elderly face affecting 3.8% of the total elderly population (WHO 2017). Due to which, it affects their sleep cycle, they get startled/frustrated easily and overthink over the smallest of problems. The most common anxiety disorder among the elderly is General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

From the insights that I collected and found out was that, majority of the elderly discussed their feelings with their friends in the society or by calling their close relatives on the phone. Since they were of the same age group, they could share more comfortably and motivate each other. Very few of them went to a psychiatrist.


INSPIRATION: With their age and slowing down of cognitive abilities, the most easiest way to help them to cope with anxiety is meditation. While researching, I did find that meditation not only helped reducing anxiety disorders but also helped getting restorative sleep, lowering blood pressure and improving the immune system. Especially Zen meditation!

Zen meditation is actually a Buddhist tradition where practitioners focus on their deep breaths and the movement of their belly. Zen also follows a certain set of design which I interpreted while studying it in depth:
1) Minimal design: Removing everything that is unnecessary (de-cluttering), hence making it more spacious and easy to the eye.
2) Subtle colours: Majorly browns and light yellows.
3) Natural materials: Using more of natural materials such as wood and bamboo.
4) Comfortable seating: Sitting on the floor or on the bed.

Why lighting? Lighting can impact one’s mood to a great extent. Using subtle or warm colours can calm one down, where as lighting with a glare can make a person uncomfortable and can be a strain in the eye. For the elderly, they need something soothing for the eye which helps them to sleep at night and which is interactive as well.


Dimensions: 3.5 inches X 8 inches X 8 inches