The last decade has seen a 28% rise in the number of people aged over 80 in the UK. At the same time, adult social care budgets are shrinking and thresholds for eligibility are lowering, which means that a growing number of people will have to rely on their own funds to organise their care and to adapt their homes to their new needs. While this represents one of the biggest challenges of the moment for providers of public services, it is also an interesting opportunity for companies like NRS to rethink how they support healthy ageing.
While most of their business consists of large social care contracts with local authorities, NRS is now keen to also grow a market that is responsive to the needs of people who are financially above the social care threshold and who are also generally younger. This implies moving from a supply-driven to a demand-driven model by actively involving people in their healthcare choices. Practically, it means placing an emphasis on preventative products as well as making it easier for people to assess their own needs and to be aware of what is on offer.
The Innovation Unit's design team worked with NRS to define and communicate their vision around supporting and celebrating independent living.
We ran service design workshops, which helped the NRS team to come up with tangible propositions for a whole journey approach. The focus was on providing a user-centred service, from assessment to recycling, in a seamless and proactive manner. It also included an online platform for feedback on product development, with the view of empowering customers to play an active role in shaping the Aids to Daily Living market for future generations.
We also produced a series of filmed interviews with a group of people aged from 63 to 97, which complemented this vision. These not only served to inform the design process, but also provided valuable insights on the diversity of feelings and notions that people link to ageing and independence. Those insights will continue to inspire the development of NRS products and services.