Integration rather than isolation
Many senior citizens want to grow old at home and remain independent for as long as possible. For this reason, residential solutions suited to older people are becoming ever more important, including in existing properties. This requires changes to buildings to ensure quality of life and freedom of movement.
In terms of healing architecture, however, barrier-free apartments (with no stairs, bathtubs, or narrow doorways) are only part of the solution. A holistic approach goes beyond this; rather than isolating residents, it actively involves them in social activities. On-site spatial structures such as communal rooms promote interaction and invite residents to spend time outside their apartments. In care homes, community and shared experiences also play an important role in the mental health of residents. At present, 15% of people aged 80 and above no longer live at home. The intention is to enable them to maintain a social life rather than spending the day on their own, isolated in their room.
Housing older people is no longer just a question of being able to meet the demands of an aging society for care homes and retirement apartments with suitable living space – it is also a matter of having the architecture to promote good health. This is precisely what is offered by the senior citizens’ residence Al Vigneto in Tenero, Ticino, which was opened in 2017 and is operated by Tertianum.