With millions of discerning Baby Boomers approaching elderhood, the need for a variety of personalized approaches to senior care is more pressing than ever. Let’s be real – none of us really want to end up in a nursing home, so what are the alternatives? It’s now possible to ‘age in place’ in our own neighborhoods, remain independent much longer, live in smaller groups and enjoy a higher quality of life with facilities that think outside the nursing home box and technology that keeps elders connected to their families and caregivers.
Backyard ‘Granny Pods’ by N2Care
For elders who are fiercely independent, but still in need of some help from friends and family, detached micro houses can be a dream. These so-called ‘granny pods’ are built specifically with senior living in mind, offering varying features depending on how much care is needed. The ‘MedCottage’ comes equipped with robotic features that monitor vital signs, for instance, along with safety rails, lighted flooring and built-in cameras. Other models are more like slightly modified tiny houses. This way, when the houses are placed in a backyard, residents can participate in the lives of their family while maintaining privacy for everyone.
Lantern of Chagrin Valley: Nostalgic Indoor City for Dementia Patients
Can you imagine waking up one day to find that you have no idea where you are and don’t recognize any of the people around you – and worse, you’re in a cold, impersonal facility that looks more than a little dystopian? It’s no wonder people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia often wander away, looking for something that feels more familiar and comforting. But of course, wandering around outside can be really dangerous for people with dementia. An assisted living facility called Lantern of Chagrin Valley finds a compromise with a layout inspired by 1940s small towns, with residents’ rooms shaped like the facades of houses complete with porches and rocking chairs. The floor is grassy, the ceiling lights up like the sky, bird chirping plays from speakers and the porch lights come on at night. Research shows that controlled environments help reduce anxiety, anger and depression among dementia patients, and everything in this facility, from the paint colors to the scents, is designed to offer a therapeutic benefit.
ElliQ ‘Robot Friend’ for Aging People
Take the functionality of Google Home or Alexa and tailor it to the specific needs of the aging population, and you’ve got ElliQ, a bot designed to help elderly people remain connected to the outside world. The bot reminds users of appointments, tells them when to take their medications, suggests activities like exercises and offers ideas for podcasts to listen to. The bot is still in development, and not yet ready to order, but Intuition Robotics is looking for older adults and their families to join their testing community.
Magical Micro Retirement Community in Japan by Issei Suma
It may look like something out of a fairytale, but this cluster of domed houses is actually a retirement home for women in Japan by architect Issei Suma. ‘Jikka’ was originally created for two women in their 60s, one a social worker and one a cook, but it can accommodate residents with varying levels of ability and mobility. It features a kitchen, dining area, shared bedroom, guest room and bathroom, and the coolest part is the spiral pool that allows someone in a wheelchair to roll right into the water.
Honor On-Demand Elder Care
A lot of people end up in nursing facilities simply because they can’t afford to have a private nurse or assistant meet their needs each day, whether that means medical care or just some assistance getting around. The idea of the Honor on-demand care service is that help with tasks like laundry, moving heavy items, picking up prescriptions, getting to and from doctor appointments and other forms of assistance are just a click away. There are no minimums, so users can schedule the care they want, when they want it, and pay as they go. This kind of on-demand assistance makes it possible for older people to live independently much longer.