Design for Aging: Are We Learning Enough From Other Countries?
As I've mentioned in other blog posts recently, the way the healthcare design community integrates the aging population moving forward is going to be of critical importance to the entire healthcare community. Facilities will need to adapt to be able to accomodate the Baby Boomers, a generation of educated consumers who have learned to expect better, faster, cheaper healthcare; the urban environment will have to adapt, too.
In a confused (and confusing) time for the healthcare community -- and by extension, the healthcare design community, as well -- the industry can use as much help as it can get to establish the new order of things. One place where we may not be looking enough is overseas.
HEALTHCARE DESIGN will be publishing it's annual International issue in June, as well as a special International Week here on the Website during the week of June 11th. But in the meantime, a new book titled Design for Aging: International Case Studies of Building and Program might help provide some fresh ideas and guidance.
The book examines 25 of the most innovative examples of aged care facilities worldwide, focusing on the architectural solutions needed to achieve the best practices. Written by a team of international experts, the book also includes a handful of US facilities -- a move that helps to compare and contrast the global picture that much better.
The book also makes a case for a set of universal design principals -- regardless of country -- that can be applied to most any situation, regardless of political, social, or regulatory issues. The argument seems to be that people generally want the same things as they age, regardless of where they live. Ultimately, that fact is up for debate, but Design for Aging: International Case Studies of Building and Program certainly makes a compelling case for it.