Adaptations and Product Hacks for Seniors

In biology an adaptation is an evolutionary process where an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat. At the Healthy Aging and Independent Living (HAIL) initiative in the Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic, home adaptations are also an evolutionary process where seniors or their caregivers are creatively adapting products and environments to better meet their needs. So when Carl Frederikson, in the movie UP, puts tennis balls on the bottom of his walker to make it easier to use, he has done what is called a ‘product hack’. The problem for seniors like Carl is that much of the everyday products and spaces they use are not always designed for them in mind and therefore they or their caregivers are forced to adapt those environments.

The HAIL initiative is doing research into identifying all of these do-it-yourself home adaptations and ‘product hacks’.  We are looking for not only the good but the bad and the ugly adaptations. Do you know of any?  Can you take a picture of this ‘hack’ or adaptation and share it with us? Maybe you know of someone who is a great ‘product hacker’?

If so, send your adaptation or hack by uploading images directly to the HAIL Adaptation Gallery. It’s easy, no need to create an account, and it’s anonymous. You can also send your photo and story to Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation (

To enter photo/story into the HAIL Adaptation Gallery:

1)      Enter the HAIL Adaptations photo sharing site 

2)      Type in passwordhail” and click on “Login” button

3)      Click on “+ add more photos” button on the upper-right hand corner

4)      In creating new account popup, click on “upload photos anonymously” link (below the ‘Create Account’ button)

5)      Click on “Choose Photos” + add your photo and story