Regis Decorme from R2M Solution attended and disseminated Homes4Life at Innovative City 2019 | Innovation for Better life and Smart Business | in Nice, France, 15 October 2019.
This new edition of Innovative City had a specific track focused on healthcare & territories, e-Health as well as telemedicine which provided useful insights on additional dimensions that might be incorporated into the future Homes4Life certification scheme.
The conference brought together a variety of key players in the housing sector, such as social housing providers, local authorities, statutory bodies, government departments, private sector players, health services and the wider NGO sector.
Almost 350 participants attended and the event explored the themes of innovation, delivery and sustainability for successful initiatives as well as an award for best successful Irish project in different categories, including housing for older adults. Besides speakers from Ireland, the conference featured speakers from the EU and the US, who reflected what the actors in Ireland can learn from activities abroad.
Europe is ageing. Action is needed at all governance levels to review the way our society is organized and create a fair and sustainable society for all ages. This workshop was the opportunity to uncover why some ageing policies have been more successful than others and help cities and regions tap into the potential that older people present while also overcoming some of the constraints and challenges that urban environments often pose on older residents.
The event was opened by a speech of Taina Tukiainen, on behalf of Markku Markkula. She reminded us about key political milestones paving the way towards an active and healthy European Union: from the opinion adopted by the Committee of the Regions in 2012 (ECOS-V-026) to the new one adopted on 9 October 2019 (NAT-VI/037) through the different EU and Presidency initiatives such as the Conference held in Helsinki on Silver Economy (July 2019).
We focused then on concrete examples from different places across Europe. Starting with the ACPAproject (Adapting European Cities to Population Ageing: Policy Challenges and Best Practices) which provided a key frame and several illustrative examples from the 8 cities involved. Moving then to Manchester and Krakow who shared their experience regarding their step-by-step adaptation to the ageing challenge. Last but not least, two projects provided a domain approach: Homes4Life (Development of a European certification scheme to support ageing in place) and the Joint Action ADVANTAGE (Preventing and better understanding frailty to foster longer and healthier life).
The main recommendations to support healthy ageing at city level:
Build a narrative based citizen approach: ageing is not only about a medical and care approach;
Organize and plan cities for persons of all ages: fostering solidarity between generations is key for a sustainable future;
Ensure a strong political support with a fair funding: the voice of your mayor is key;
Develop an ecosystem enhancing close collaboration between various stakeholders (citizens, researchers, policy makers, businesses): everyone has a role to play;
Enable an active involvement of older persons and citizens at large in the development and implementation of policies and activities: “Because older people are the ultimate experts on their own lives“ (WHO, 2007)
Provide a proper problem analysis and evaluation of the solutions implemented: this is key to learn lessons and move forward while ensuring continuity when needed;
Overcome negativism and stereotypes: creating a positive view on ageing so we all can look forward to a positive future in later life.
Last but not least, this workshop was an additional proof that investing in international and European cooperation is key to learn from the others, share experiences and get further inspiration.
Sara Casaccia, from Università Politecnica delle Marche, presented Homes4Life in Denmark, Aarhus, this week. As one of the largest events of its kind in Europe, the AAL Forum 2019 hosted a vibrant exhibition of Technology designed to improve the quality of life for older people.
This year edition had a specific focus on “Smarter practical implementation of digital solutions to enhance active and healthy living“.
A new study published in The Gerontologist illuminates the concept of “aging in place” in terms of functional, symbolic, and emotional attachments and meanings of homes, neighbourhoods, and communities. It investigates how older people understand the meaning of “aging in place,” a term widely used in aging policy and research but underexplored with older people themselves.
Recommendations to promote healthy housing for a sustainable and equitable future
Improved housing conditions can save lives, prevent disease, increase quality of life, reduce poverty, and help mitigate climate change. Housing is becoming increasingly important to health in light of urban growth, ageing populations and climate change.
The WHO Housing and health guidelines bring together the most recent evidence to provide practical recommendations to reduce the health burden due to unsafe and substandard housing.
The Age-Friendly Basque Country Project has produced a Guide to Friendly Housing. The aim is to offer simple and useful information that can be used to assess older individuals needs and give advice for the adaptation of the home. The Guide is divided into sections according to the rooms that structure the house (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, living room, etc.) and includes advice and recommendations per room type.
A Guide to Friendly Housing is available as a PDF file online in Spanish and Basque.
After years of housing policy focused on first-time buyers, the RIBA is now calling on ministers to make it mandatory for all new homes to be accessible for older and disabled people, for councils to allocate sites for “age-friendly” housing and for estate agents to clearly label accessible housing in marketing materials.