The Conceptual Development of a Multifunctional Stepladder for Older People and Caregivers

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Nov 3;19(21):14399. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192114399.


Stepladders are compact, foldable ladders with flat steps and a platform. Despite all the research and design efforts, there are still limitations in terms of the multifunctionality, usability and simplicity of stepladders and related variants. By combining ideas, features and functions from patent literature, existing products and scientific journals, this study aims to conceptualise a multifunctional stepladder for improved usability. Five concepts are created, which are screened and evaluated against a set of criteria to select the best concept for improved usability, divided into three categories: simplicity, effectiveness and efficiency. The result is a versatile invention that functions as a stepladder, walker, wheelchair and Pilates chair, suitable for older people and caregivers in nursing homes. It allows medical records or supplies to be retrieved from high places without the need for inappropriate aids. The invention can replace wheelchairs and walkers and converts into a Pilates chair to provide a mobile exercise option for older people. The concept offers older people flexibility and independence in terms of mobility and healthcare, while saving space in the nursing home. Further design studies, prototyping and testing are needed before this idea can go into production.

Keywords: caregivers; concept formation; health; health services for aged; interior design and furnishings; older people; quality of life; universal design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caregivers*
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes
  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs*

Grants and funding

The article processing charge (APC) was funded by the Research Management Centre (RMC) of Multimedia University, with the approval number MMU/RMC/PC/2022/87711 (Approved on 2 November 2022).