Project scenario

Marieke is a 62 year old widow living in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She is currently working as logistics manager for the local bank office. Although being close to retirement age, Marieke plans to keep working full-time for the next 3 years, as she needs to support herself while she is paying off the mortgage of her house. She also truly enjoys the social activities of her work, where she goes around the office to deliver parcels for the bank staff. But her grip strength in both hands has decreased and she often experiences pain at the basis of her thumb in her right dominant hand when picking up boxes and other objects. She experiences these problems not only at her work but also in her social activities: she’s a fervent woodcarver and teaches sculpting classes two evenings in the week, but has recently considered stopping this activity due to her problems. She has visited her doctor only to hear that it was due to a combination of sarcopenia and osteoarthritis and she had to live with it. Lately, she has started to realize that she has trouble to handle heavy boxes, because she cannot grip them well. Marieke’s manager has also noticed it and suggested a meeting next week to discuss Marieke’s future work. Marieke is really worried that her boss will ask her to go to early retirement, or assign her to a desk job where she will lose social contacts with the rest of the staff. And that is a thought Marieke can’t live with.

Lukas is a 68 year old single man living in the suburbs of Zurich, Switzerland. Lukas has recently retired from his job of urban gardener of the City of Zurich. He has two passions: fitness training and gardening (for himself and his neighbours around his house). Lukas has also joined the terzStiftung foundation to become a terzCoach, so he can take care of older adults exercising in fitness or health centers. There he meets people who need his support and motivation as well as his interpersonal skills. Unfortunately, Lukas is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, and his condition has worsened recently, reducing the time he can spend at the gym or outside gardening. His hands are especially important and although he knows that many people do have these complaints, Lukas hates the idea of having to stop his activity as terzCoach so he can focus his energy on gardening in his home, at the expense of his social contacts.

Gustav is a 71 year old married man living in Eskilstuna, Sweden. Before his retirement, he used to work as a train mechanic for SJ, the Swedish National Railway. Today he remains very active with the railway union, participating in industry reunions and training younger staff on a voluntary basis. Gustav truly enjoys staying close to his passion, the train locomotives, and sharing this passion with his younger colleagues. He also enjoys cooking for his large family and volunteers at the nearby association for cooking meals for the less fortunate. A few months ago, Gustav suffered from a stroke, which left him with a mild hemiparesis condition on the right side. This means Gustav cannot use his right side very well and suffers from a “spastic hand” (difficulties to open his hand and grasp objects). This has led him to stop his volunteering activities and stay at home with his wife for the whole day, hoping for his hand to recover. Gustav would give anything to have slightly better hand function so he could manipulate objects with both hands instead of only with his non dominant left hand.

Fast-forward a few months later, with Marieke, Lukas and Gustav using the Iron Hand glove in occupations:

  • Marieke is still a happy logistics manager. With the Iron Hand glove she can perform her tasks even better than before. She can handle the parcels with less effort, and is able to keep up her work for a longer period without pain and feeling too tired. She can even keep on with her passion: woodcarving. Therefore she feels much happier in her work and less tired and can spend more time interacting with the staff, making her an irreplaceable member of the team. Her quality of life is back to where she was before the problems appeared.
  • Lukas has earned his professional training in the SAFS Academy in Zurich and is now an official terzCoach. He helps over 50 persons per week to stay fit and to find exercises appropriate to their age. A lot of people have asked about the glove and are interested to purchase one themselves, so they can keep training more effectively, without being affected by a weak grip. Lukas is delighted, especially because his pain is much less severe after a full day of work. He can now even combine both activities on the same day, which he had to give up a long time ago. Even his garden looks better than last year.


Gustav is back in the kitchen of his association and is about to prepare the annual summer dinner for over 100 people. He has also recently been asked to maintain a steam locomotive as part of the Swiss Heritage Railways organization. With the glove, he can use his hand much more functionally, holding utensils and handling more tasks at the same time in the kitchen. He has even noticed that he can use his hand better without support from the glove, when cooking meals for his family at home. This has made him enjoy their family dinners much more.