There are many different aging practices adopted throughout the world, swayed by different cultures, religion, political views and economic states. One particularly innovative solution to the problems facing aging citizens is Oman Muotoinen Koti, otherwise known as The House That Fits.
Located in the suburb of Kannelmäki in Helsinki, Finland, The House That Fits is a state funded program that aims to bridge the gap between young and aging generations, reduce isolation and lower the levels of homelessness. Essentially the mechanisms behind the design of this system involve young, homeless youth sharing living space with elderly in a retirement village. This concept initially began as apartment rents in Helsinki were some of the highest in the world at over $250 US a month. This solution enabled the younger generation to have an affordable place to live at under half the usual rent and the opportunity to interact with their elders who aren’t their grandparents. This also impacts strongly on the elderly residents as they get to mix and bond with people of an age group that they rarely get the opportunity to. Although only executed in one particular retirement village currently, the concept was seen as a success with plans to expand throughout Finland. To achieve this a designer will work together with governments, youth and the elderly to design a space to accommodate both the youthful generation and the aging generation. This will achieve a space that has all essential medical and aging practices for the best health response for elderly residents, whilst still maintaining a space that is desirable for the youth of society.
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This solution to the aging crisis in Finland will aim to form strong intergenerational connections, which is essential for the development of the younger generation as well as benefiting the aging population as the elderly are often isolated to their particular generation and lonely. In achieving this the elderly generation will feel as if they are still connected to society, which in effect would make them feel ‘young’ and imbue both generations with a new symbiotic meaning in regards to each other. This is inspiring as it breaks away from the traditional forms of aged care, which involves just meeting their physical needs by creating something which solves a dual problem; homelessness and the aging population. This in turns enriches their lifestyles.
A program such as The House That Fits could be extremely valuable program that could be implemented in the increasingly aging population of Beijing, China. Particularly as the culture widely accepted in China is that the younger generation acts as the caretakers of their elders.
Munstadi.fi 2016, A Home That Fits, viewed 1 November 2016, <http://omanmuotoinenkoti.munstadi.fi/>.
O’Sullivan, F. 2015, ‘This Helsinki suburb is offering millennials cheap rent to live in a senior center’, The Atlantic, viewed 2 November 2016, <http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/12/helsinki-laajasalo-millennials-senior-home-studio-rent/418134/>.
Helsinki Design Week 2015, ‘Topic: a home that fits’, viewed 1 November 2016, <http://www.helsinkidesignweek.com/tag/A%20Home%20that%20Fits/?lang=en>.