Designing homes to help seniors age in place

A team of 11 students at the Faculty of Environmental Design crafted a 400-square-foot laneway house for senior citizens. The Age-in-Place Laneway Project, a community-based applied-research project, brings together students and medical researchers from the University of Calgary, Homes by Avi a leading homebuilder in Calgary, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, and the City of Calgary.

Together, they work to bridge the provision of care for older persons with chronic conditions and the design of homes and communities that facilitate high-quality aging-in place. “A home isn’t a medical facility; it’s a domestic space. And when we’re developing products and technology for aging in place, we can’t lose sight of the fact there are certain aesthetic, cultural and functional requirements that we need to respect. There’s a level of dignity that people shouldn’t have to give up in old age”, said Professor John Brown, Associate Dean of the Faculty.

Students worked with medical professionals to figure out cutting-edge aging-in-place design strategies for the home. They tested a laneway prototype and got a lesson in empathetic design by wearing an age suit which simulates some of the physical symptoms of old age for the wearer. Recently, Prototype I was awarded the Mayor’s Urban Design Award in Housing innovation.

For more information, see the Faculty of Environmental Design’s official page

News Date: April 29, 2015