Navigating Programs and Services at Age 65

 Human Centered Design prioritizes talking to and collaborating with the people who are most likely to be affected by a new program or service improvement. Aging By Design project teams work directly with clients to understand issues from their perspective. including how something looks and feels to end users and stakeholders. We take human experiences and the surrounding environment into account. Teams take steps to address a specific problem by building prototypes and gradually/continuously improving services with feedback from clients and community.

Jericho Road Hope Refugee Drop-In Center

The Jericho Road Hope Refugee Drop-In Center in Buffalo, NY helps new arrivals adjust to life in the United States. Language barriers, cultural norms, and past experiences can make it challenging to complete tasks like paying bills and interacting with landlords. The project team worked with older refugees and their families to identify some of the most difficult aspects of adjusting to life in the United States.

“Through this project we got training and a lot of knowledge from people and organizations that have been working with elder adults. Our approach has become so different from what we’ve done before.”

“We have to understand where individuals are coming from, where they stand right now. And we have to understand what they’ve been through in order to help them. Not just rushing in to help them…they have to be part of the solution.”

Prototyping ways to Helping Older Adult Refugees Navigate Changes at Age 65

Working together with staff and clients, the project team at Jericho Road created a flowchart (or roadmap) of the key steps older refugee adults have to accomplish in order to successfully apply for Social Security. Confusion over eligibility, which offices to visit, and when the process was actually finished represented useful starting points for creating informational resources to make this transition easier.

The images below represent four versions of the same flowchart – one for staff and one for clients in three languages (Burmese, English, and Karen).
View client chart in Burmese
View client chart in English
View client chart in Karen

In their own words…

Listen to the audio clip below and watch the video to hear what participants and staff from Jericho Road are saying about the approach, and the impact on their lives.

“This has given us a chance to better understand individuals. It is a concept that can be used in other areas. It doesn’t stop with elder adults.”

For more information on Aging By Design, visit