Arthritis New Zealand works in co-operation with Arthritis Australia to promote the importance of packaging being easy to access for people with arthritis.
The ability to open packaging easily is an ongoing challenge for people with arthritis and has significant implications, including the ability to access food and medicines. In extreme cases people with arthritis may be unable to use certain packaged products altogether, or may experience considerable pain and difficulty during the use of other packaged products. Often individuals with arthritis can experience limited dexterity and fine motor coordination and typically have weaker grips than those without arthritis.
Research by the Georgia Tech Research Institute outlines a range of reasons why it is more challenging for someone with arthritis to open certain packaged products. Inclusion of these guidelines in the Code of Practice provides users of the Code the opportunity to benefit from world class research into these issues to inform their packaging design processes. However, it is not just people with arthritis who have difficulty with certain packaged products. As someone ages, they experience a decrease in dexterity and strength. With the likelihood of arthritis increasing with age, and the number of people in New Zealand aged 65 or older projected to increase by 20% between 2017 and 2022, this represents a larger group of society that will find packaging an increasing challenge.