To foster engagement, purpose, and contribution
Allow for access and opportunities to remain engaged with the community
Purpose-driven housing models that foster engagement in, and connections to, the community are key to increasing the quality of life for seniors. This is the primary finding of the research phase of the Seniors and Intergenerational Purpose-Driven Housing Solutions project – a collaborative community project initiated by the Community Training and Development Centre (CTDC) and funded by the Government of Canada’s National Housing Strategy Solutions Lab Program.
This research investigated the potential impacts of a purpose-driven housing model for older adults (adults aged approximately 65 years and older) in Peterborough and Northumberland.
“Innovation in senior housing will be critical as our aging demographic grows,” states CTDC CEO Madelaine Currelly. “Particularly in our rural communities, purpose-driven housing is key to increasing seniors’ quality of life. Opportunities to continue to take part in work, learning, and extracurricular activities are a critical design feature of senior housing for the future. This type of housing fosters engagement, purpose, and contribution in the daily lives of residents. Evidence suggests that innovative housing models hold promise to improve health outcomes, allowing more people to age-in-place.”
The research phase of this project applied a ‘design thinking model’ in the creation of two case studies – one in The Peterborough and one in Northumberland – allowing for an examination of the model in both a mid-sized urban area and a predominantly rural one with population nodes. The project’s objective was to investigate the impacts of affordable housing models for older adults, in both rural and urban geographies, that incorporate access and opportunities for the residents to remain engaged with the community.
Case study in Northumberland
Initial research focused on a variety of housing models within North America and worldwide. This information informed CTDC’s further research with local residents and service providers within Northumberland and Peterborough, which included feedback gathered through questionnaire workbooks disseminated to seniors in the two regions, along with two virtual focus groups.
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Canada’s seniors have shaped this country and continue to make invaluable contributions to our communities every day,” says the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. “Our government remains committed to supporting Canadian seniors through projects such as this one, under the National Housing Strategy Solutions Labs Initiative.”
“The local research project underway by the Community Training and Development Centre for a purpose-driven housing model for older adults is critical in helping develop housing that meets peoples needs,” says Member of Provincial Parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South David Piccini. “This project which focuses on innovation in senior housing and incorporates purpose for residents could help seniors in our communities. I look forward to learning more on how this project could allow more people to age-in-place and increase seniors’ quality of life.”
The next phase of this project includes the refinement of the draft housing design model to reflect various concepts of ‘purpose’. Purpose could include potential employment or volunteering opportunities within enterprises located on the premises, community gardens, a woodworking shop, teaching/coaching opportunities, learning opportunities, music facilities and fitness resources. The goal is ultimately to finalize a model that supports service providers and builders in designing purpose-driven housing that meets the needs of seniors and other groups of residents.
The final report with conceptual drawings of the model is anticipated to be completed by April 30th, 2021.
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