I am designing various elements along the route an elderly would take on a typical day so that they can age in place independently and with dignity regardless of whether they are healthy or develop Alzheimer’s Disease.
The project focused on taking the existing structure of a 1 room rental studio flat and introducing changes only where the existing structure was insufficient or unsuitable to avoid frivolous changes that did not provide much improvement to the quality of life. Interventions were introduced at a few different scales to cultivate a support system at different levels which would be helpful for an elderly when engaging in different activities, at different levels of lucidity.
The first scale of intervention is focused on the immediate support, next door neighbors. The original plan had very efficiently packed units, resulting in a double-loaded corridor which let little light in, casting harsh shadows on a dimly lit hallway. The lack of common space on the floor also resulted in a hallway that promoted resident staying isolated within their units or having to go out further in order to gather with their friends. Thus, a staggering of units with the introduction of pockets of space shared between pairs of units would create a space residents can occupy more casually. The pockets also serve the bring more diffused light into the corridors, to diffuse any harsh shadows and introduce more natural light throughout the building. Introducing windows on the side of each unit looking into the pockets also provide an additional way for neighbors to look out for each other on a day-to-day basis.
On the next level of support, floor-based support can be introduced with the addition of common spaces for residents to gather. The small 1 room units provide enough space for residents to have their essential living spaces. Extended living rooms on every floor, about the size of a unit give residents a space outside of their units to relax and engage in activities, potentially also bond with their neighbors on the same floor. The concentration of these extended living rooms around the lift core provide an additional level of wayfinding. Every floor will look slightly different now with these extended living rooms that allow residents to appropriate. Every few floors, activity spaces can also be integrated to provide opportunities for elderly to pursue their interests. Being a stones throw away, it will be even more convenient for elderly to find activities they are interested in and keep them engaged.
On a block level, common spaces can provide a location for elderly to get to know more people and have a wide network of support. The void deck can be activated by providing more spaced out gathering areas that account for the different ways elderly like to sit (such as squatting, leaning, lying, etc.). This activation can extend out to the currently underutilized green space behind the block. A canopy provides shading for spaces that cater to different size gatherings.
The skydeck focuses on daily activities that are essential for healthy living. A communal kitchen with a farm to table concept allows elderly, especially those with Alzheimer’s at earlier stages, to cook under supervision so they do not have to settle for takeaway food all the time. A laundry room also allows them to keep up with daily chores like washing and ironing clothes as they have other people to do it along with them. The furniture can be shifted around to allow for reconfiguration of the space for adhoc activities like recycling activities or workshops to be held.
As a whole, the combination of next door neighbor, floor based and block support fosters a more dynamic environment with activities happening. This provides many important opportunities for elderly to have social engagement, healthy diet and lifestyle which is essential to healthy ageing.
In addition, on a community and even national level, a wayfinding system which utilizes AI and technology integrated with hardware provides elderly more opportunities to get out of the house more often, travelling outside of their most familiar radius in the neighborhood.