Creating age-friendly environments in Europe

Creating age-friendly environments in Europe. A tool for local policy-makers and planners (2016)

Policies to create more age-friendly environments, in which a growing number of cities and communities, local authorities and regional governments participate, have become a forceful movement in Europe and globally. These policies explore synergies between improving the physical environment of neighbourhoods, transport and housing; increasing respect, social inclusion and community participation; and investing in public services. This publication provides a toolbox to guide local policy-makers and planners in developing, implementing and evaluating age-friendly policies and interventions – policies that support people to age actively and healthily and thus both to do the things that are important to them and to contribute to their communities. Based on lessons learned from existing age-friendly initiatives in Europe, this publication summarizes key factors for establishing and sustaining successful initiatives within four phases of the policy process: engaging, planning, implementing and evaluating. A wealth of examples illustrates how local governments have put the principles of age-friendly action into practice.

Source: Creating age-friendly environments in Europe. A tool for local policy-makers and planners (2016)

Planning and design for an ageing population: Coursework for Re-thinking aging

Currently, I am participating in an massive online open course (MOOC) from the University of Melbourne on the topic of Re-thinking aging:  are we prepared to live longer?

The free course is offered through Coursera; it started the last week in April and runs for 5 weeks. You can read more about the course and sign up for future offerings at: https://www.coursera.org/learn/ageing/home/welcome

We were encouraged to keep a journal or blog about our journey through the course, particularly to note where our opinions and ideas have changed from the beginning of the course to the end. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share the course information and my opinions with you – a little something different than my usual posts 🙂 As such, this will be a work in progress over the next 5 weeks.

Week 3:  Planning and designing for an ageing population

Week 3 of the course highlights the planning and design principles for an age-friendly environment for housing, retirement communities and health care settings. Continue reading

Shaping Ageing Cities

Shaping Ageing Cities

‘Shaping ageing cities’ is a comparative overview of the performance of 10 European cities, according to ageing data and observing them under the lenses of society, mobility, built and digital environment as the basis to further investigate the correlation among politics, planning and ageing.

Baby Boomers Are The First Tech-Savvy Retirees

This article comes to us from Huffington Post. With increasing use of wearable technologies, robotic assistants, home automation, and a whole range of welfare technologies to support independent living, safety, and health, this generation of retirees are doing it differently than we have seen before!

Baby Boomers Are The First Tech-Savvy Retirees — And Have The Home Renovations To Prove It

08/11/2015 9:36 am EDT by  Sr. Editor | NowItCounts.com

Newest retirees want state-of-the-art technologies in homes and home offices for consulting work.

Time to throw out the notion of the “stuffy” grandparents houses like we used to visit in our childhoods. Continue reading

October 1:  International Day of Older Persons

With advances in medicine helping more people to live longer lives, the number of people over the age of 60 is expected to double by 2050 and will require radical societal change, according to a new report released by the WHO for the International Day of Older Persons (1 October).

Source: WHO | WHO: Number of people over 60 years set to double by 2050; major societal changes required

See also:

WHO Fact sheet on Ageing and Health

WHO World Report on Ageing and Health (full report) (executive summary)

The 10 Best US Cities for Technology-Assisted Living

This article comes to us from Redfin Blog. To find the “best” cities for tech-supported living, the authors of this article looked at 5 app-based services that aging adults would find useful, monthly mortgage payments, and monthly assisted living facility costs in the cities. If it cost less to live at home and use the services than it would to live in assisted living, the cities made the list. So, while you are reading this list, please keep in mind that these are the criteria they used. Of course, there are many other options for using technology to support independent living, and if you want to read more about this, check out some of my other posts – you will see suggestions at the bottom of this post.

The 10 Best Cities for Technology-Assisted Living

by | August 11, 2015

10BestCitiesTechnologyAssistedLiving_Banner

The National Conference of State Legislatures and AARP Public Policy Institute report that nearly 90 percent of people over the age of 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible. Fortunately, in most cases, they won’t have to move as they age. According to Seniorly, a service that helps people find senior care, the majority of seniors do NOT need to move into a nursing home. They simply need some care equivalent to what they would find in an assisted living community, which includes assistance with daily activities like meals, medication, housekeeping, bathing and transportation.

And these days, there’s an app for that. An elderly woman can take an Uber to her friend’s home, find someone to walk her dog through Rover.com, schedule her lawn to be mowed or her house to be cleaned through Porch, get groceries delivered through Instacart, and schedule a professional caregiver to assist with bathing, meal preparation and other daily living activities through CareLinx. Or, for those seniors who aren’t tech-savvy, friends and family can use these technology-based services to arrange care for them. Continue reading

Internship on Age-Friendly Cities Initiative

Internship with the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities

In January, 2013, I started a 3-month internship with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. I will be working on how to incorporate eHealth in the Age-friendly cities initiative. I will be posting some updates here on how the internship is going and how gerontechnology will be playing a role in Age-friendly cities.

???????????????????????????????

Continue reading

Great technologies for rehabilitation

While researching wearable technologies that support life with dementia, I came across several other technologies that I see as being useful in clinical applications, especially in rehabilitation. I thought I would start to compile a list here to spread the word on some of the really innovative and useful technologies that are out there.

Continue reading

Wearable technologies that support living with dementia

Wearable devices are:
Wearable:  the device is worn on the body throughout its use, it should not need to be carried.
Controllable:  the device is controllable by the user, either actively or passively.
Enhancing:  the device will augment knowledge, facilitate learning, or enhance experiences.

One of my posts on Wearable Technology was viewed by a lot of people in the first week I posted it on my other blog (80 is a lot in my world!). When I originally came across the website (which I only summarized and repeated the information), I had intended to comb back through and discuss which ones could be relevant for many carers and people with dementia. This is what I have done my PhD on (you can read more at PhD is Finished!, with pictures!), so I am particularly excited to do this. This list is compiled with the intent for supporting living with dementia and in care, and many of the technologies will be appropriate for home care. Continue reading

Playgrounds for Seniors Improve Fitness and Reduce Isolation

I found this article on Huffington Post a few weeks ago. Hope it gives you some inspiration!

We have outdoor workout stations in parks like this here in Denmark. They aren’t marketed or talked about as playgrounds for adults, but rather as public exercise equipment.

Playgrounds For Seniors Improve Fitness, Reduce Isolation

Continue reading

8 Smart Ideas for Aging in Place

 |  By : 03/05/2015 

For related information, see my post on my work with the WHO on the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities.

Baby boomers have long proclaimed their desire to stay in their homes post-retirement, a practice known as aging in place. They want to stay in the communities where they have friends, know their way around and have a support network. Cities and communities have “heard” them and many places are preparing for the groundswell of what happens when their residents creep up in years. Building a senior citizen center is nice, but clearly there’s more to it than having a place to play Bingo. Here are a few of the programs and trends that are making a difference in the lives of the nation’s aging population.

1. Solve the “driving is my independence” problem once and for all.
Older drivers have slower reaction times and more vision issues. Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But the ability to drive is synonymous with independence and independent living, so many older people are reluctant to give up their automobiles.

Twenty years ago, inspired by a desire to keep unsafe drivers off the road after an 84-year-old motorist struck and seriously injured her toddler son, Katherine Freund started the Independent Transportation Network. ITN was launched in Portland Maine and has now spread to 25 cities. People who are 65 or older (or visually impaired), pay a modest fee and are provided a ride to where they need to go, a door-to-door escort and assistance. Forty-six percent of ITN customers have an annual income of less than $25,000 and only 2 percent found the service too expensive.

Best of all, seniors can trade in their cars and earn ride credits. Rides are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for any purpose.

2. Acknowledge the need to sit down.
Age-Friendly NYC wants to encourage older adults to get out to walk, shop and socialize. So the goal of this program is to install 1,500 park benches throughout the city for people to sit on. Before you scoff, remember that New York is the city that doesn’t sleep. It also doesn’t stop and rest much. There are 1 million people over 65 living in NYC, and by 2030 this number is expected to increase by 50 percent, according to the program’s website. Age-Friendly NYC also connects older New Yorkers to opportunities at NYC-area colleges and universities.

3. Make it easy to keep the brain active.
The Bernard Osher Foundation has established Lifelong Learning Institutes for adults 50 and older on 119 college and university campuses. Many community campuses allow those 65 or older to audit free uncredited courses.

Publications are printing more large print books too. Large-print crossword puzzles and word-solving games are also available.

4. Understand that eating healthy food keeps people healthier.
While everyone knows about Meals On Wheels, which delivers already prepared meals to shut-ins, not everybody wants to stop cooking for themselves. Buying groceries though can involve the need to drive and/or carry heavy bags home. In 2014, the Food For Free programs in Cambridge Massachusetts distributed 1.5 million pounds of food. It began its home delivery program in 2001, serving 12 clients that first year. Now it’s up to about 100 housebound elders. It gives seniors and people with disabilities more control over their meals, while providing a supportive service that helps them to stay in their own homes, says the group’s website. Two 40- to 45-pound food deliveries are made each month to clients and half the food delivered is fresh produce.

And there’s Mom’s Meals, which for less than $7 a meal will deliver freshly made meals that just need to be heated up and can keep up to 14 days. Mom’s Meals ships by FedEx and offer menus for diabetics and heart patients, vegans and those who are gluten-free.

5. Doctors who make house calls.
While doctors making house calls used to be a common practice a few decades ago, it’s practically unheard of now. But it’s enjoying a second life in North Carolina. Doctors Making Housecalls is a medical group of 52 clinicians who make more than 75,000 home visits a year in private residences, retirement communities, apartments and assisted living facilities in North Carolina. This is an idea that’s bound to spread, along with some routine medical procedures being handled online.

6. Encourage the building of more lifelong housing.
Rogue Valley, Oregon, has a “lifelong housing” certification program whereby home builders and sellers can have their homes certified as such. The checklist of desirable housing features includes a no-step entry, a first floor full bath, etc. The certification levels are noted in MLS listings so homebuyers seeking age-friendly/multi-generational housing can more easily find appropriate housing and housing creators will hopefully be more encouraged to create age-friendly housing, says AARP.

7. Build a park and they will come.
A vacant field in Wichita, Kansas, was turned into a grandparents park — an outdoor space that children and grandparent (caregivers) could enjoy together. http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/grandparents-park-wichita-kansas.html

8. Help keep people active.
Brownsville, Texas, has a very poor, overweight population with high diabetes rates. One in four residents is age 50 or older. The city hosts several “CycloBias” a year in which streets are closed off to cars so that people can walk, bicycle and participate in health-targeted activities.

8 companies that are changing aging

This article comes from CNBC, and is a topic I am particularly interested in as I also like studying and being an entrepreneur in the gerontology and gerontechnology field! Aging2.0 is a GREAT program that is helping to launch many innovative and socially-beneficial companies, all focused on making life more enjoyable for aging adults! I had the pleasure of meeting with Stephen Johnston, the other co-founder of Aging2.0, when working on launching a start-up focused on making it easier to find a helpful and useful Assistive Technology. You can read more about that on my page on Adventures in Entrepreneurship in Dementia Care.

Tapping into the longevity economy

—By Julie Halpert, special to CNBC.com
Posted 08 April 2015

The longevity economy, representing all economic activity serving the needs of Americans over 50, is expected to top $13.5 trillion by 2032, according to Oxford Economics. This opportunity isn’t lost on savvy entrepreneurs.

Out of a total 290 entrepreneurs who attended the annual Boomer Summit last month in Chicago, 40 percent were entrepreneurs hoping to pitch their products to potential investors and get ideas on how to best appeal to this demographic. That was twice the amount as the previous year, and for the first time, they came from many different countries.

Katy Fike, co-founder of Aging2.0, a start-up accelerator program, and founding partner of Generator Ventures, a venture fund focused on aging and long-term care, said the industry is attracting graduates from top-tier business schools. Some entrepreneurs have already developed particularly successful products geared toward the demographic shift. Many of these ideas sprung from a personal experience and a desire to solve a problem endured by a loved one.

Here are 8 business owners who have already found millions in the longevity economy.

Continue reading

iPads and custom apps connect older adults in Japan

This is a re-post from IBM. I came across this article through LinkedIn and am very happy to re-post it. The first person I provided personal dementia care for, was a wonderful and inspiring woman in her early 50’s who had the familial type of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She spent her career working for IBM, traveling the world as a trainer for their programs. She would be so happy to hear that IBM is developing this service.

Japan Post Group, IBM and Apple Deliver iPads and Custom Apps to

Connect Elderly in Japan to Services, Family and Community

TOKYO, ARMONK, N.Y. and CUPERTINO, California – 30 Apr 2015: Japan Post Group, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Apple today announced a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at improving the quality of life for millions of Japanese senior citizens. Built on the global partnership Apple and IBM announced last year, the new initiative will deliver iPads with IBM-developed apps and analytics to connect millions of seniors with services, healthcare, community and their families.

Continue reading

1950’s apartment – A museum especially for those with dementia

Museum Helps the Elderly (and those with dementia)

This article is from the Danish news source TV2.

The Old Town (an open-air museum in Aarhus, Denmark) has a reminiscence apartment that is fully booked on weekdays, but now those who are interested have the opportunity to see the apartment and get an insight into the work of remembrance communication (reminiscence).

22. apr 2015, kl. 12:32 | By: Katrine Rubeck – updated 25. april 12.20

AARHUS:  This weekend, The Old Town in Aarhus opens up the city’s rememberence apartment.

Photooto: Thorsten Overgaard, Den Gamle By

Continue reading