Page 12 - Possible Magazine - Issue 7
P. 12

 Making our towns and cities liveable for all generations.
Around the world, countries are addressing how built environments and attitudes to ageing impact our ability to remain living independently and active in the community as we get older.
In 2010, the World Health Organization established a global network for age-friendly cities and communities. Bringing together cities from across the world to exchange experiences and learnings, the initiative has over 800 members.
The focus of the network is on creating environments where people of all ages are enabled to actively participate in community activities, and where everyone is treated with respect, regardless of their age.
Age-friendly communities
have walkable streets, housing and transportation options, access to
key services, and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities.
Many of Australia’s state governments now run grant programs to support the implementation of age-friendly initiatives and capacity building for communities across Australia.
Bridging the shortfall in aged care workforces.
Currently, one third of Japan’s population is over 65 and aged care communities are already in high demand. Due to a shortfall of carers in Japan, the government is
investing in robots to bridge the gap and provide support for the country’s ageing population.
A small percentage of Japanese nursing homes already use robots for tasks such as lifting residents from wheelchair to bed, and there are plans to incorporate robotics into mobility devices to aid older people while out and about, or via wearable devices that can monitor their health.
Closer to home, robotics is
also being used in Australian aged care facilities. Utilising built-in sensors, cameras and some careful programming, little robots that can walk, talk, dance and recognise
faces are not uncommon in aged care communities. In-built smart technology allows them to converse with residents, walk around with them, teach exercise classes and even dance! While these aren’t a replacement for human connection, staff and residents say that the robots are entertaining and “funny little creatures” to have around!
Building interpersonal relationships and homely spaces.
The Butterfly Model of Care, originally developed in the UK and now applied in many countries
across the world, including Australia, incorporates a feelings-based perspective into dementia support. Facilities that adopt the program use a year-long transition period to educate staff, families and care partners to
be person-centred and relationship focused.
The holistic program also involves refurbishing interior spaces where residents live, ensuring rooms are colourful, highly engaging and emulate the comfort of a home environment. Unlike a traditional aged care facility, staff don’t wear uniforms and residents are free to interact, do activities and enjoy meals together in comfortable, homely spaces.
It encourages those interacting with residents to “fit into the person’s reality” and see them as family members.

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