Nationally famend growing older skilled Dr. Invoice Thomas unveiled at this time the first-of-its-kind robotic prefabricated Minka home constructed on the College of Southern Indiana (USI) campus in lower than every week that includes common design accessibility and superior manufacturing know-how. The Minka will function a mannequin home, simulation lab for USI college students and a constructing block for creating age-friendly communities.
The USI Minka mannequin home is the fruits of a year-long “MAGIC” (Multi-Potential, multi-Generational, Inclusive Neighborhood) pilot challenge supported by the USI Basis and AARP that’s kickstarting a cultural transformation associated to growing older and neighborhood design. It builds off Dr. Thomas’ close to 30 years of innovation as founding father of The Eden Different world non-profit, The Inexperienced Home Challenge, Senior Emergency Room and ChangingAging.org.
“This Minka home represents historical past within the making,” mentioned Dr. Ann White, dean of USI’s Faculty of Nursing and Well being Professions. “This thrilling pilot challenge is bringing collectively quite a lot of educational disciplines on our campus to work with Dr. Thomas and our neighborhood in modern methods. USI is proud to be a frontrunner in exploring new approaches and options to the broader societal problems with growing older and unbiased residing for all individuals.”
Minka, launched in 2017 by Dr. Thomas, is now working to design and construct MAGIC communities with companions in Evansville, in addition to in Clearfield, Penn., Loveland, Colo., Victoria, Texas and different communities. Minka’s prefabricated housing system was created in collaboration with Denmark-based AGJ Architects to develop a globally-affordable housing platform that may be tailored to satisfy the wants of individuals of various ages and skills.
In Pennsylvania, a vacant elementary faculty and 23 acres of woodland bought by the Clearfield County Space Company on Getting old (AAA) this month can be reworked into an intergenerational dementia-friendly neighborhood that includes Thomas’ Minka and the MAGIC mannequin inviting individuals of all ages to reside collectively.
The Clearfield AAA partnered with Dr. Thomas’ New York-based Minka and AJGA to develop the 60-home “Minka Village of Hope.” The event will embrace a mixture of single household and multi-family Minka houses that includes good residence know-how, common design accessibility and can repurpose the schoolhouse right into a mixed-use industrial and humanities engagement heart.
To create locations the place individuals residing with dementia can thrive, Dr. Thomas says “we should construct communities that embrace individuals of various ages and skills, reasonably than placing them in establishments simply because they’re frail or forgetful.
“I spent a long time preventing to make the long-term care system higher and created modern alternate options akin to The Inexperienced Home,” Thomas mentioned. “However I’ve additionally discovered that individuals need actual communities, not amenities.”
The Girard Goshen Elementary Faculty, closed since 2013, can be transformed right into a neighborhood heart that includes a mixture of retail, well being providers and native inventive arts engagement applications designed with neighborhood participation to assist reconnect individuals residing with dementia to their neighborhood, mentioned Clearfield County AAA director Katherine Gillespie.
“Our households are devastated by skyrocketing charges of Alzheimer’s illness as a result of our communities fairly frankly aren’t designed to incorporate them and assist them thrive,” mentioned Clearfield County AAA director Kathleen Gillespie. “We’re partnering with Dr. Thomas to construct the Village of Hope to present households hope that individuals residing with dementia can take part and luxuriate in life once they reside in a neighborhood that welcomes and contains them.”
Clearfield neighborhood stakeholders embraced an emphasis on arts engagement within the first of a sequence of MAGIC participatory design workshops led by Dr. Thomas’ workforce in August 2018.
“Every individual lives with a novel set of bodily and cognitive talents, and each one among us wants to make use of these talents to their fullest extent. The inventive arts provide some wonderful pathways for constructing relationships and communities,” mentioned Thomas, who launched Minka after spending 4 years touring North America with a theatrical manufacturing known as the ChangingAging Tour that has carried out in 128 cities. Sponsored by AARP, the tour makes use of theatrical arts and participatory design to help age-friendly and dementia-friendly neighborhood growth within the U.S. and Canada.
Each the USI MAGIC challenge and the Village of Hope draw on the Tour to help individuals of all ages and skills to beat the social stigma related to growing older or reminiscence loss, mentioned Minka director Kavan Peterson, who co-founded ChangingAging and leads its age- and dementia-friendly applications.
“For many years the one story we’ve heard about growing older is one among loss, decline and despair,” Peterson mentioned. “However there’s a new story. It’s a story of connection, expression, pleasure and development. It’s a story informed by individuals residing with dementia, by those that love them, and by individuals of all ages who need to reside in various and welcoming communities.”