Older people know what they want in terms of housing and their neighbourhood. But has anyone asked them? Two researchers in Queensland have. This research came about because of serious concerns about congregate living during the COVID-19 pandemic. In their research findings, the researchers challenge the ideas of local planners. They say we need to look at ageing in neighbourhood rather than retirement villages.
The researchers found that local councils can act as a catalyst for the market to change and innovate. They propose infill developments with a mix duplexes and mid rise apartments with easy access to services. The article in The Conversation has lot of images and diagrams to illustrate their arguments. The title of the article is, Ageing in neighbourhood: what seniors want instead of retirement villages and how to achieve it.
It is time to move away from focusing on what older people can no longer do to what they can be encouraged to do. That is the healthy ageing approach. Older people know what’s best for them. Given the opportunity they can create solutions.
The table below shows the key features that make a home and neighbourhood a good place to live as they age.
The Fifth Estate has an article that extends the discussion on this topic into smart cities. The title of the article is, This is how we create the age-friendly smart city.
Australia was one of the first countries to contribute to the WHO’s age-friendly cities project, but how much has been implemented? The late Hal Kendig explains the situation in a book chapter, Implementing age-friendly cities in Australia, which can be found in Age Friendly Cities and Communities: A Global Perspective. Or you can access a similar publication on ResearchGate.
COVID re-think on retirement living
Retirement living has to factor pandemics into design now. Separation rather than isolation is the key. Much of the value of specialist retirement living is the easy access to amenities and socialisation. But the pandemic put a stop to both. The constant reminder that older people are more vulnerable to the infection was the last straw. Especially as everyone fell into the vulnerable category. Consequently, everyone got isolated from each other. But how to design for this?
Australian Ageing Agenda has an article discussing these issues. If residents have to stay home for prolonged periods, they will likely demand more space. Pocket neighbourhoods could work so that only a section needs to be cordoned off. Other ideas are:
The title of the article is, COVID-19 is shaping design of future facilities.