Following the threads of conversation from the recent Canada AM series Living With Alzheimer’s, the whole question of elder life care and urban community design came to the front of my mind again. How we create living spaces to be inclusive of all ages and stages of life is one of great promise. We need to be thoughtful of how aging and longevity is everyone’s concern.
When it comes to community design, we run the risk of isolating an elder generation by building more “care homes” or “retirement residences” that not everyone can afford, and do not include an element of inter-generational connectivity.
Yet there are special needs that literally require mindful consideration such as those people living with forms of dementia. Somehow it seems that we are still at the front end of that journey, discovering what to do and how to make this more of a social issue not merely a medical issue.
Globally there are emerging community care models, and one worthy of attention is De Hogeweyk, a Village of Care for those with dementia, located outside of Amsterdam. Its award winning concept captures elements of – architecture, landscaping, urban amenities and interior design that not only serves the over 150 people who live there but also invites engagement with the surrounding community.
How does De Hogeweyk serve as a model for future promise? For my next few posts I speak with Jill O”Donnell, President of Iris For Seniors, for first-hand insights from her 2014 visit to that community.