The challenge is creating environments that enable people to live where they are connected to their families and communities, while still being supported with quality care and opportunities to have fulfilled lives.
Loneliness has emerged as one of the major public health issues of the modern era. There is robust evidence that loneliness and social isolation significantly increase the risk for depression, cardiovascular diseases and premature mortality. Loneliness disproportionally affects young people aged 15 – 25 and older people, particularly those aged 75 and over. Considering that living alone is rapidly becoming the norm for growing numbers of older people, prevention of loneliness and social isolation is a crucial aspect of designing solution for later living and aged care.
Individual loneliness occurs when a person is missing someone special such as a partner or close friend with whom they had a close emotional bond. Social loneliness refers to the absence of a social network made up of many friends, neighbours and colleagues. Clearly, the traditional approach of removing people from their sources of support to provide care has the potential to exacerbate the health effects of loneliness. The challenge for designers is creating environments that enable people to live where they are connected to their families and communities while still being supported with quality care and opportunities to have fulfilled lives.
Life3A uses the latest research to inform its solutions for later living communities set in urban environments. These solutions put the residents at the heart of the design process and look for ways to enable them to have active and independent lives. Mixing young and old to create intergenerational environments is a vital and aspect of this. As is providing opportunities for care communities to be incorporated into local neighbourhoods, where lifestyle amenities and services are common to residents of the centre and the area. As opposed to gated residences, these projects invite the surrounding community into the precinct to mix and mingle with the residents whose age varies from over 55 to late 90s.
At one of our Australian projects, we bring together a whole range of different housing types, from townhouses to social and affordable housing and independent retirement living to aged care. There is a community centre and an allied health building, a range of community facilities and shared green space linking all housing types.