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With the world’s population ageing at a rapid pace, there is a growing need for new ways to provide residential care for older people. IAHSA member Jeffrey Anderzhon, FAIA, has spearheaded the latest edition of Design for Aging, a book that explores successful schemes around the world. Written by an international team of experts in aged care design, the book includes cases from Australia, Denmark, England, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. The authors describe how each scheme has addressed the needs of its residents despite variations in design, geography, cultural factors, medical needs, capital cost, and other factors. Clear, well-documented information for each facility includes:

• Building descriptions and project data, and how the overall design fits within a geographical location

• The type of community, including number of residents, ethnicity, and specific conditions such as dementia

• How to apply universal design principles in different political, social, and regulatory contexts

• How to create a sense of belonging and well-being for residents while building strong connections with the community at large

• What makes a facility able to attract and retain high-quality caregivers

• Environmental sustainability issues, plus indoor and outdoor spaces

Architects and interior designers as well as facility owners and caregivers will find Design for Aging an inspiring and practical guide on how to navigate the many factors involved in creating good designs for aged care environments. Interested in receiving a copy? You can order online.

Photo courtesy of  ClatieK


Designers and architects often claim to be age friendly, but how can they be sure that their product really works well for people with mobility limitations? The Third Age Suit is an empathy suit developed to simulate the effects of loss of mobility and declining sensory acuity, which can occur with the ageing process and also with certain clinical conditions. It was designed to help answer the question of how designers, who may be fully fit and active, really know if their designs work in practice for people with some loss of mobility or declining sensory perception.

The suit was developed by Howard Jeffrey Ph.D.  for his U.K. based company Mobilistrictor.   The Third Age Suit was shared with participants of the 2012 By Design Conference, an annual event that provides design industry professionals the opportunity to access the latest thinking and research in the field of senior living. “This innovative Third Age Suit enables us to truly understand the confines of limited mobility of the clients we serve,” states Tye Campbell, CEO of SFCS.   “We are excited to be able to share this ingenious device with our colleagues, customers, the media, and co-workers as they strive to build, design, and care for seniors. Our mantra is always looking forward to ‘what’s next’. We believe this Restrictor Suit will assist us as we continue to progress into more functional designs for seniors”.

A Designer Tries Out Third Age Suit

The LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) connects technology producers and end users to expedite innovation and adoption of technologies to assist ageing populations. In the next free CAST webinar, Associate Director Paul Burnstein will walk participants through different technology-enabled care models and describe key enabling technologies that CAST encountered in its recent Scenario Planning effort. With care reforms taking place all across the world, you don’t want to miss the emergence of a number of new care/ business models. Tune in on 15 March 2012 at 14:00 EST (18:00 UTC) For more information or to access archived webinars, check out the CAST blog.

You can get a sneak peek of some of the great products that are enabling older people to live longer, healthier lives in this video of the 2011 Idea House.

World Health Day is coming up on 7 April 2012. Aging and health is this year’s special theme, providing an opportunity for organisations and individuals worldwide to showcase solutions to population ageing.  As we frequently mention on this blog the world is rapidly ageing, and less developed countries are seeing the fastest change. We are currently experiencing a window of opportunity to establish social and health supports for an ageing population before the strength of such systems will be tested.

2012 marks the 10the anniversary of the adoption of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). The plan is a resource for policy-makers, and suggests ways for governments, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders to re-frame the conversation around ageing.

It’s important to remember that elders possess a world of knowledge and are important contributors to social life and societal stability. Organisations, cities, communities and individuals are invited to celebrate in 2012 the contribution of older women and men on World Health Day through events and other activities.  Making cities and communities age-friendly is one of the most effective policy approaches for responding to demographic ageing. Cities and communities wishing to become more age-friendly can take part in the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

Does your organization plan to put out a call to action in support of World Health Day? The World Health Organization is recommending calls to action be issued around the topics of healthy active lifestyles across the lifespan, the creation of age friendly environments, and creating better understanding of elders needs among health care providers.

Photo courtesy lukaszduleba

The government of Switzerland has recently unveiled plans to construct a mock 1950’s village for people living with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The proposed village will be worth approximately 20 million Euros and will be constructed close to Wiedlisbach near Born. The village will be able to house about 150 residents in 1950’s style houses. The architects purposely developed a design to invoke the atmosphere of the era.  The building plans call for no closed doors so that residents will be able to move about freely. The carers will also participate in the effort to resurrect the 1950’s by dressing in typical garb of shopkeepers, beauticians, and groundskeepers of the era.

Markus Vögtlin, the Swiss entrepreneur behind the construction says that he struck upon the idea after visiting the Hogeway nursing home in Holland. Proponents of the model argue that reinventing the past can help Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers have a greater sense of normalcy during the advanced stages of the disease. Detractors argue that the model is deceptive and inefficient. Interested in learning more about alternatives in Alzheimer’s and dementia care? Why not join us on our study tour in California this year?

Kitchen at Hogeway Care Home, Holland

IAHSA is building on its successful Design for Ageing Symposia from the past two conferences. We are looking for ways to continue this important conversation virtually. As luck would have it, Norsk Form, an IAHSA business member in Oslo, recently sent me the following information on their design for ageing programme:

Norsk Form is a foundation that works with architecture, design and urban area planning. With the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services, they have established an interdepartmental network including 13 municipalities, that range from small to large in size and are located all over the country. What unites them is a wish to discuss the design of care homes for the elderly of tomorrow.

The network aims to help develop different care service models that can be adapted to local conditions and needs. Its strategy for the development of care homes can be summarised as follows:

  • Development of interdepartmental cooperation for planning and integration in the municipal plan
  • Cooperation between sectors so that resources are viewed across departments; for the development of shared use, joint localisation and vicinity with public and private enterprises.
  • Integration of care homes and nursing homes in regular residential areas with shared functions
  • A coherent housing service that addresses the need for different types and degrees of care.
  • Design of good aesthetical surroundings, outdoors as well as indoors, that promote social, cultural and physical activities
  • Surroundings that permit local inhabitants to take part in various activities; the care centre as a local meeting place

For more information, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about IAHSA’s Design for Ageing programme, please let me know.

IAHSA member David Hughes is a distinguished architect and visionary leader in the UK in creative design of communities for the elderly.      David thinks that since land is at a premium in the UK, building vertically instead of horizonally seems to make sense so last year he toured the USA looking at the use of high rise buildings as retirement homes. The UK magazine Caring Business recently published David’s thoughts on his trip.

David is also on the IAHSA team developing IAHSA’s 2nd International Design for Ageing Showcase and Symposium, a survey and exposition of the state-of-the-art and trends in senior living from around the world.    Call for entries in the survey are open until 30 April.

We are proud to announce the return of the International Design for Ageing Symposium & Showcase – a survey and exhibit of the state-of-the-art and trends in senior living from around the world.

The Global Ageing Network is a unique forum for designers and aged care providers worldwide to share innovations in senior living design and programming. IAHSA provides the opportunity for multinational, comparative analysis of trends and developments in design for ageing, including responses to specific historical, cultural, and regulatory contexts, along with senior market preferences ranging from “traditional” residential design to modernism.

Design firms are invited to submit one project each that represents their contribution to the field of senior living through a simple Call for Entries process. Submissions will be analyzed by a multinational, multidisciplinary team, with findings presented at the International Design for Ageing symposium.

Firms submitting projects will have an additional opportunity to display project design boards during the conference at the Design for Ageing Showcase, located in a central area at the conference centre, for the benefit of design firms and attendees alike.

Dates to Remember:

17 February Call for Entries
30 April Call for Entries Submission Deadline
19-22 July IAHSA 8th International Conference in London

Fast Company Magazine has discovered a design genius – Hilary Cottam, founding director of Participle, a design team that uses its skills to address social issues in England.

One innovation they created is Peckham Circle, a service that provides practical assistance to seniors who are alone in their community and who are worried about how to deal with every day tasks.

Cottam is one of a new wave of design evangelists who are trying to change the world for the better. They believe that many of the institutions of the 20th century are failing and that design can help us to build new ones better suited to the demands of this century.

The world will be a better place when we have more people like Hilary Cottam.

IAHSA’s Global Forum at the AAHSA Conference on Sunday featured a dynamic presentation by Dr. Alex Kalache, Director, International Centre for Policy on Ageing, New York Academy of Medicine, New, York, NY & Immediate Past Chief, Ageing & Life Course Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

His presentation covered three major goals.

  • Realize how global ageing and urbanization are the great accomplishments and challenges that will define the 21st century.
  • Learn how the World Health Organization (WHO) has taken a leadership role in addressing these trends through their Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide.
  • Appreciate how the Age-Friendly Cities initiative can help to inform and advance the rise of New Urbanist approaches to senior living and long-term care.

After his presentation, Dr. Kalache was joined by IAHSA member panelists for an in depth discussion of the trends and their impact in various countries. Panelist included:  Mr. David J. Hughes Managing Partner, Pozzoni LLP UK; Ms. Emi Kiyota, Design Consultant, USA; Mr. Glen A. Tipton, Senior Vice President, CSD Architects, USA and Mr. Henrik Nord, General Manager, The Association for Housing for the Elderly, Denmark.

The session was chaired by Mr. Greg Mundy, Chief Executive Officer, Aged & Community Services Australia.

About this blog

IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network Blog was created because of you!! We got your message loud and clear – “Provide us with a quick and nimble communications vehicle so we can stay connected and create community across borders".

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Virginia Nuessle, Study Tour Director

Majd Alwan, Director, CAST

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