FRIDAY: DID YOU KNOW??
Understanding the needs of our aging population is not easy but it should definitely be one of our priorities in order to make the life of our grandparents easier and more fun.
MIT’s Agelab has addressed exactly this issue and created a suit called AGNES, calibrated to give the wearer the experience of being 70. This suit has been created with the primary aim of helping young designers, architects, city planners, engineers etc understand what the pressing needs of their aging clients are. The suit “helps” to dim your sight, stiff your neck, shorten your gait and just recreates the thousand of small uncomfortable qualities which our grandparents are affected by.
By understanding what challenges a smooth day for our elderly, this suit helps the younger to plan more suitable cities, putting more smiles upon faces.
Agelab was created in 1999 9 to invent new ideas and creatively translate technologies into practical solutions that improve people’s healthand enable them to “do things” throughout the lifespan. Based within the MIT’s School of Engineering, the Agelab has assembled a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, business partners, universities, and the aging community to design, develop and deploy innovations that touch nearly all aspects of how we will live, work and play tomorrow.
From the FT:
The world’s most innovative aging projects!
This charity targets those at risk of loneliness or isolation by building or renovating a local shed in which men of all ages can come together and work. It also provides advice on health and emotional support during periods of stress. The approach has been trialled by the charity Age UK, where the scheme is called Men in Sheds.
Fureai Kippu, Japan
Translated as “elderly care units” or, more charmingly, “kindness tickets”, Fureai Kippu is a nationwide Japanese system of local alternative currencies to help care for elderly people. One currency unit represents an hour of service. Volunteers in one part of the country can visit an elderly person and then use the credits gained to have a volunteer look in on their own parents or relatives back at home.
Senior Co-Housing, Netherlands
Sometimes known as “lifetime neighbourhoods”, senior co-housing is a system of mixed-age residential developments designed to allow young and old to live together and support each other. First developed in Denmark in the 1960s, the Dutch system now has many hundreds of groups of elderly people living in such communities.
An innovative programme of social services for elderly people, which operates by creating local “circles” of support using a mix of concierge-style phone and internet help services and local volunteer “neighbourhood helpers” to augment traditional social care. Begun as a pilot in the London borough of Southwark, the concept is now being rolled out across the UK.
The Good Gym, UK
The Good Gym pairs joggers with isolated elderly people, asking the runners to pop in for a chat during their daily exercise. Magic Me, another organisation seeking to bring fun and the chance to take part in artistic activities to older people, invites volunteers to host cocktail parties in residential homes.
Started in Porto, the Aconchego programme finds elderly people at risk of loneliness and isolation but with a spare room to offer, and matches them with local university students in need of inexpensive housing. The project now operates in Lisbon and Coimbra, while a similar programme, called Ensemble2Generations, is up and running in Paris.
A private, Facebook-style online social network, Tyze allows elderly people to share private information with their family, friends, care-givers and health providers. This “personal network” of support helps to bridge formal and informal systems of assistance.
Norcs, or “naturally occurring retirement communities”, are buildings or neighbourhoods that have been retro-fitted to provide services for elderly people. Often located in a single residential estate or tower block, a Norc will provide traditional health and social care services (such as a live-in nurse or doctor) along with help with transport, education and recreation.
Experience Corps, US
Established in the mid-1990s, Experience Corps has grown to become America’s largest non-profit national service organisation, providing tutoring opportunities to more than 2,000 over-55s in 20 US cities. Research suggests that the programme helps its students boost their reading comprehension, while also improving the cognitive function of the elderly tutors themselves.