The shape of the world we create – our buildings, our cities, our homes – can present challenges and dangers for older adults. With an aging population that is rapidly growing, architectural solutions for elder-friendly housing have become more crucial than ever, both in the United States and around the world.
As part of the Los Angeles Jewish Home’s 14th annual Sarnat Symposium on Wednesday, USC professor Victor Regnier will continue this conversation in a talk titled “Innovative Ideas for the Design of Housing for the Elderly from Asia, the U.S. and Northern Europe.”
“I will also discuss many trends, including new technologies and co-housing,” he said. “All of these ideas are present in other cultures and are interesting to ponder as we imagine the future of long-term care in this country.”
Regnier, who holds a joint professorship at the USC School of Architecture and the USC Davis School of Gerontology, is uniquely suited to speak on this issue as the only person to have achieved fellowship status in The American Institute of Architects and The Gerontological Society of America.
“Professor Regnier is one of the foremost experts on housing and community planning for the elderly, an extremely important and timely issue,” said Molly Forrest, chief executive officer and president of the Los Angeles Jewish Home. “The Sarnat Symposium brings together some of the most progressive experts in the field of geriatrics and will explore innovative solutions to some of the most pressing issues that must be faced when working with an aging population.”
Of particular interest to Regnier is noninstitutional housing for older frail people, especially the home-care support platform designs of Northern European and the Netherlands.
“This allows people to stay as long as they can in their own dwelling unit. When they move, it is often into a small complete dwelling unit with universal design features and supportive services,” he said. “The whole system pushes older people to be more independent and keeps them out of institutional arrangements, like nursing homes. They claim it is cheaper, more humane, more choice-laden and stimulates the exercise of independent behaviors.”
This is in contrast to the long-term care system the United States uses, which Regnier described as expensive and substandard.
“Over the next decade, we will see a move in the direction to make wholesale changes in how it works. In the U.S., we have seen inpatient beds being replaced by outpatient services in acute care hospitals, partly because of cost and new technology. The same thing is likely to happen with long-term care,” Regnier said. “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what other models of this sort have been incubated by other cultures? The northern Europeans arguably have the best system of long-term care in the world – aren’t you curious why?”
For more information or to register for symposium, visit jha.org/calendar/community-events.asp
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