Tag Archive - housing

Elderly show preference to age-in-place

About 81 percent of elderly wanted to age in their existing flats.

The Housing Development Board (HDB) conducts the Sample Household Survey (SHS) once every five years to gather feedback and identify emerging trends in public housing. In its latest survey, where close to 8,000 households in all HDB towns/estates were interviewed between January and August 2013, the findings found:

• The proportion of elderly residents (aged 65 years and above) had doubled since 1987 from 5.4 percent to 11.0 percent in 2013. Those aged 65 to 74 years made up the majority of the elderly at 7.3 percent, while 2.9 percent were aged 75 to 84 years and 0.8 percent were aged 85 years and above.

• Every elderly resident aged 65 years or older was supported by 5.9 persons in the working-age band of 20 to 64 years, a decline from 6.6 persons in 2008.

• The elderly showed a strong preference to age-in-place. About 85 percent of elderly households had no intention to move within the next five years, while the proportion of the elderly who intended to move declined from 7.3 percent in 2008 to 4.2 percent in 2013.

About 81 percent also wanted to age in their existing flat. They mainly felt that the present flat was comfortable, had an emotional attachment to it, or wanted their children to inherit the flat.

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Away from misery island

Professor Dr Hans Becker, CEO of Humanitas Foundation in the Netherlands, shares that away from misery island is the way to go. He is a driving force behind the concept of ‘Apartments for Life’, Agelessvoice finds out more about this concept from him:

Can you share the ‘Apartments for Life’ concept?

Fifteen years ago, the Dutch older people started demanding an alternative to old-style nursing homes and hostels. They wanted to be able to go on living independently and stay in their own communities for as long as they could even if their health declined and they could no longer get around.

‘Apartments for Life’ is a response to this challenge, pioneered by the Humanitas Foundation in Rotterdam in the mid-1990s. It began with 350 apartments in three complexes in 1995 and has really taken off.

So how does it work?

Human happiness – that is the business we are in – is not about ‘cure and care’. There is not much to cure when someone has Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, or even arthritis in the knees. The care elements have to be there, but they should be in the background. The ‘Apartments for Life’ philosophy has four basic values:

  • Boss of your own life.
  • Use it or lose it.
  • Extended family approach.
  • A yes culture.

The Humanitas approach is that residents should be the boss of their own life, with their own front door so they are truly a resident, not just ‘staying’ in a room that belongs to an institution. The Humanitas model for ‘Apartments for Life’ includes carefully designed apartment complexes, lived in and partly run by independent older people, and offering services on a needs basis. These include medical, daily care, recreational, educational and social, up to and including nursing home-type care.

The apartments (minimum 72 sqm, three rooms – the social norm for building requirements in the Netherlands), may be purchased, or rented. The apartments are designed in such a way that – even with a wheelchair – the sink (variable height sinks), the electricity cupboard, and the letterbox, are within reach, and barriers such as thresholds, narrow doorways, awkwardly opening French doors, etc, are avoided. Living arrangements, as a total living concept, is not the only contributing factor to an individual’s happiness, a sense of “belonging” is also crucial and through our approach, we have achieved this.

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