In the world, almost two-thirds of the people aged over 60 live in developing countries. Latin America is experiencing this demographic shift, with some countries, like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile having more than 10% of the population aged 60 and older (IMF, 2018). The challenges of ageing societies in developing countries are particularly new and of great concern as they reflect on how to implement sustainable healthcare service.

The growing number of elderly people directly affects healthcare systems and costs. People aged over 60 are the most affected by health problems compared to any other age group. There is a steady increase in the chances of all measures of sensory, intellectual and physical function decline away from optimum as we get older. Therefore, the services provided in healthcare must consider the needs of elderly people in order to design and develop systems and services that accommodate and include them. In this way, losses of capability, such as locomotion, dexterity, hearing, learning, memory, divided attention, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and colour discrimination must be considered when designing services, products and physical environments. Such considerations enable the design or re-design of accessible, understandable and ease of use spaces, information and products.

This research aims to understand a great variety of the accessibility issues affecting elderly users of the public healthcare system, starting with the UK and Brazil (public healthcare system named Servico Unico de Saude – SUS).  Accessibility issues, in this research, range from physical structures to ways of delivering patient information that are inaccessible for elderly people with reduced physical, sensorial or cognitive capacity - i.e. motion, visual, hearing impairments, memory loss and decrease on learning capability.

Project Team:

Dr Emilene Zitkus; Dr Omar Huerta and Dr Ertu Unver


In Brazil - Federal University of Science and Health of Porto Alegre – UFCSPA