Experts are looking for ways to improve the housing quality for the elderly
Europe is ageing. Based on Eurostat research, the number of people aged 65 and more can be expected to increase by 28,5% by 2050. According to the World Health Organization, the health and independence of older people depend on the quality of their physical and social environment. Scientists from the Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology SAS and the Faculty of Architecture and Design STU in Bratislava are also researching the issue of age-friendly housing in the project "DESIRE - Design for all Methods to Create Age Friendly Housing".
The key condition for active and healthy ageing is the quality of housing. However, much of the housing stock in the European Union is not designed or adapted to the needs of older people. This situation offers experts in the field of construction, furniture or interior design an excellent opportunity to participate in changing the quality of housing. However, innovative solutions need to be promoted at the level of teaching and professional education. These have the potential to bring new approaches and skills in creating an environment and products oriented to the needs of seniors.
The Erasmus + "DESIRE" project brought together experts in the construction industry and the interior equipment sector from Slovakia, Spain, Portugal and Slovenia. Project participants will gain tools and skills for applying Design for all - D4all methods as an integral part of the design process. The project aims to create or adapt housing so that older people and their family members have a sense of comfort and independence in the home environment.
Scientists Ľuba Voľanská and Soňa G. Lutherová from the Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology SAS are concentrating on introducing the issue of ageing and the inclusive material environment from an anthropological perspective. "In March, we organised, together with the team from the Slovak University of Technology, coordinating partner of the whole project, two international workshops with more than thirty experts in the field of social sciences from different European countries, as well as two workshops with domestic design experts and representatives from the political-economic sphere. In the discussions, we defined the key issues that confirmed the topicality and poignancy of the research topic,” explained the anthropologist Soňa G. Lutherová.
The team from the Faculty of Architecture and Design STU, consisting of Veronika Kotradyová (Body Conscious Design laboratory/BCDlab), Zuzana Čerešňová and Mária Šimková together with other members of the Research and Training Center for Barrier-free Design - CEDA (Center of Design for All), focuses on space concepts promoting inclusion, taking into account the diversity of people as well as their social interaction and overall comfort, with overlap into the ergonomics of age-friendly products.
Interested participants can also monitor the progress of the project via the #DESIREprojectEU hashtag.