טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentRitz Tali
SubjectEvaluation of Difficulties in Opening Food
Packages among Seniors
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors Professor Ron Nabarro
Professor Emeritus Joseph Miltz
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Opening food packages is often a challenge, especially for older adults. The objective of the present study was to examine the difficulties experienced by elderly people when opening several types of common food packages, and to quantify the degree of difficulty experienced when attempting to open glass jars.


In the first part, a survey was conducted among 56 women and 26 men (Mean age = 66). Participants reported difficulties in opening of five types of food product closures: bottle caps, tamper-proof plastic strips used in jars, can pull-rings, jar lids, and yogurt lids. Participants' subjective reports were converted into a binary variable Opening Difficulty following set criteria.  Statistical analysis of the data was performed using the SAS software with (SAS GLIMMIX procedure, using the binomial distribution).


Results showed that aging and suffering from hand pain increases the probability to report a higher degree of difficulty in opening food packages. In most cases, women were found to experience greater hardship than men.


The second part of the study focused on jar openability as a test case. Twelve women aged 68 to 83 (Mean = 75.5) attempted to open two kinds of vacuum-sealed jars using three techniques. Each participant was presented with a set of 6 new jars, 3 of each kind. The two types of jars differed both in size and in the required the application of an opening torque. The three opening techniques used were: 1) the use of bare hands,

2) using a one-handled tool, and 3) using a two-handled tool. The experiment was designed to mimic a real-life situation, and the opening attempts were recorded with a video camera.


Opening success was significantly higher in the small jar compared to the large one. The number of opening maneuvers was significantly lower for the small jar compared to the large one. In both cases, no difference was found among the opening methods. Opening times were measured for successful opening attempts, increased opening duration being an indicator of difficulty.


Opening attempts with the one-handled tool took significantly longer than opening by hand. The two-handled tool also showed a similar trend of longer opening times compared to the hand. No significant difference was found between the two kinds of tools. Thus, results suggest tentatively that the available opening devices evaluated do not improve significantly the ease of opening of glass jars.