“Telling stories is a fundamental part of being human”; said Dr Catherine Keenan – local Australian of the Year 2016 in her acceptance speech.
Often when I mention to people that I am an architect specializing in designing buildings for aged care, they tell me a story about a parent or relative who has experienced residential care or is confronted with the need for care in some form.
I am interested by how this subject touches so many people’s lives at all ages and stages. The stories are seldom happy ones though. There is a resigned sadness about accepting that one is having to face difficult choices around care options and the meaning of ‘home’.
It is sad to be at the frail and often dependent end of an independent life; but by being old, a person will have lived a long life that will have been very full of varied experiences through a range of changing times. It is something to celebrate rather than grieve.
But the aging of the human body is inevitable and no matter where we live, people need companionship, care, good food, comfort and wellbeing. So it is up to us to make sure we design aged care buildings and care environments that reflect the positive part of a long life. The architecture should make a place that inspires and makes it’s inhabitants feel good. Design quality really can have a powerful affect on the quality of daily life.
Perhaps the last place one lives in could be the most comfortable and uplifting place of all?
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