Timeline: September 2016 – December 2017 
Client: Health Foundation for Western and Central New York,
Project Team: Ryan Voisin, Nicole Francouer, Chelsea Mills

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York (HFWCNY) advocates for continuous improvement in health and health care for young children and older adults. The Foundation selected Overlap as a partner in exploring the impact of using a human-centred design approach to improve the experiences of older adults.

Our challenge was to understand the experiences of older adults and caregivers in Western and Central New York, train service providers to work in person-centred ways, and coach ten organizations to create and implement person-centred design projects with older adults, caregivers and staff.

Engagement methods ranged from high-touch, day-long ethnography to low-touch, three-minute surveys administered by providers, and findings were used to develop a comprehensive set of design principles for serving older adults. From insights gathered, Overlap developed a toolkit for service providers to co-design alongside older adults to deliver a service, plan an event, or design a program. Using the toolkit, Overlap led a four-day intensive training session and provided ongoing coaching to ten health organizations as they undertook year-long co-design projects. These organizations have implemented over fifteen co-designed solutions addressing the needs of older adults, including such subgroups such as caregivers, newcomers, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with dementia. 

Since this initial project, Overlap has been working with the Health Foundation to apply a similar model to an initiative that engages children, families and service providers in co-designing trauma-informed health supports.