Welcome to The Calder Flower Blog
by Lara Calder
Welcome to the Calder Flower (CFA) blog. Discussions and topics on this blog will be largely focused around the architectural and design challenges surrounding the provision of future accommodation for the elderly, but will also cover similar related topics.
The number of buildings being constructed for people to retire to or be cared for in is increasing rapidly. The challenge for architects like us is to create buildings that not only inspire people on an architectural level, but also are a delight to live in and efficient to manage and work in on an operational level.
It’s a tough challenge to design physically suitable structures as aged care buildings, of necessity, become increasingly larger. It is equally a challenge to create socially appealing spaces as very few people moving into aged care facilities are accustomed to communal living environments.
As architects, we attend many conferences and discussions on how to meet the future needs of an ageing population. We participate in the discussions that cross a wide range of issues including affordability, funding, policy, size, style, safety, planning, socialisation, dementia, etc.
The purpose of this blog is to freely discuss ideas and alternative thinking around creating optimal environments for vulnerable people and other similar issues.
Architects are not care-managers or aged care providers, however one focus of this forum will also be on how good design can assist good management.
The senior members of our society must be valued, and wherever possible made to feel useful, happy and comfortable – to enjoy the best of life – good food and wine, social belonging, warmth and comfort, laughter and interest, love and connection.
All our lives we are taught to be careful and safe, to wear sunscreen and seat-belts, to avoid smoking, keep fit and eat well, to follow the rules, work hard and act responsibly. Our lives are filled with caution and boundaries. The reason for this is to stay strong, healthy and unharmed - so that we can live to ….be old.
Yet somehow old age as a hard won destination is often disappointingly stifled with dullness and preoccupation with risk. So many aged care environments are bland and characterless - when maybe they should be the complete opposite and be filled with the best eccentricities from life.
It is our challenge as designers to create buildings that are a rich alternative to living at home – a place where residents can savour the good things in life and celebrate a life long lived.