IKEA and Queen of Sweden adapt modular BoKlok housing for the elderly

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by Lizzie Crook, Dezeen, August 20, 2019

Ageing populations are becoming increasingly common around the world, though infrastructure suited to their needs is often failing to keep up. SilviaBo is a housing project being developed in Sweden by IKEA, Skanska and Silviahemmet, a dementia-care foundation established by Queen Silvia of Sweden. SilviaBo evolved from the Queen of Sweden’s ambition to develop a housing model that could help elderly couples live comfortably in their homes for as long as possible, even if one of them was to develop dementia.

Key features of SilviaBo include wide entrances and flat walkways suitable for wheelchairs, minimal thresholds for elevators and stairwells, automatic door-openers and extra lighting. There will also be features tailored more specifically for people affected by dementia, including clear and enlarged wayfinding and signage, low shower-walls for assisted bathing, heat sensors for stoves and calming interior finishes for all rooms. Wellbeing and social interaction will also form a key part of SilviaBo. IKEA envisages the housing incorporating a number of community facilities like park-like gardens with flowers and vegetables, a “village green” and a clubhouse complete with barbecues and pergolas.

It is hoped that this will enable the elderly – specifically those with memory loss – to live independently and at home for as long as possible, and ultimately help the government save money it would otherwise spend on care.

This article highlights the importance of mixed generation housing and the technical adaptations necessary for an aging population. Trends show that older adults want to live at home as long as they can. Housing like SilviaBo, designed for those with disabilities or dementia, may extend the years seniors can spend at home. I appreciate how the article mentions the financial savings that occur when seniors can safely age at home. Caring for our nation’s seniors can truly prove to be a financially savvy decision.