Supporting the elderly in managing their health and wellbeing will be one of the key challenges of our time. I’ve written previously about various AI-based approaches , but most developments in this area have revolved around smart home technologies that allow residents to be in constant contact with their doctor.
At the forefront of this movement is a Canadian project called The Village. The facility, located in Langley, British Colombia, claims to be the first village that has been specifically designed for people suffering from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
“We’ve really designed and tried to build communities where people could be independent and live their own life their way,” the founders say. “And by and large we were able to do that — with the one exception when somebody developed dementia and they could no longer live safely in our communities. We thought we should add another piece to that to allow them to stay within, if you will, our ‘family’ of communities.”
The village, which was inspired by The Netherlands’ de Hogewey village, will consist of six single-story cottages, each containing 12 units. As well as the 78 residents, the village will also be home to roughly the same number of staff. The facility aims to provide a wide range of facilities to allow residents to enjoy arts, sports, gardening and more. Activities will be planned for residents depending on their interests, with family members encouraged to participate as well.
The village is due to begin construction in early 2018, and has already received significant interest from potential residents.
With most western countries experiencing a growing elderly population, being able to maintain health into old age will be increasingly important. Projects like The Village are an interesting insight into how this might be achieved.