SINGAPORE – Philanthropic organisation Lien Foundation has asked designers from local firm Colours to reimagine how seniors can live and play in their own communities.
The designers came up with 10 ideas on how underused spaces – such as empty warehouses or the spaces below MRT tracks – can be creatively transformed to meet the needs of the elderly.
The ideas are captured in a book titled Second Beginnings, available online.
Readers can vote for their favourite idea and win prizes.
To participate, look out for the form below and tell us which are your favourite three ideas from the following, and also suggest your own original senior living concept. Three winners will each walk away with $1,000 in SPH malls vouchers.
No 1. Viaduct Village
Dead spaces under elevated MRT tracks can be transformed into community hubs that offer programmes created and carried out by seniors. They could, for instance, run a café, hair salon, care centres for frail older folk or people with special needs, or even offer tuition classes for children. With ample shelter outdoors, people of all ages and abilities are encouraged to join the vibrant street life in the re-purposed viaduct.
No 2. Hobby Factory
The Hobby Factory is a co-working space converted from a warehouse, flatted factory or even an old hangar. The spacious space can be divided into different customised areas to suit various purposes, such as spaces for production, an exhibition gallery, marketplace and meeting rooms. Here, seniors can pursue their interests with like-minded peers or convert their hobbies into creative business start-ups.
No 3. Community Pocket
The Community Pocket is a place for seniors to hang out around an HDB void deck. Residents can start interest-based activities, exercise, undergo health checks and pick up skills to help other vulnerable seniors. Unlike existing senior care centres at HDB void decks that serve just the centres’ clients, this community hub will be open to all seniors in the precinct. Most of it will also be open 24 hours.
No 4. Wholesome Market
The Wholesome Market aims to weave care for seniors into their everyday routine.
It is a free-flowing architectural space where geriatric care, healthcare programmes, fresh food and nutritious meals can overlap with physical and social activities in the neighbourhood. The circular form of the market, with a clear demarcation of the route, makes it easy for seniors with memory issues to meander in a safe and familiar environment. In the evening, the courtyard can become a space for performances or health talks.
No 5. Happy Express
Happy Express is a mobile alternative to standard, static eldercare facilities. It is a decommissioned bus, with a customisable route that connects seniors’ favourite haunts and places of interest. It enables them to re-establish their independence and mobility in the city, and be spontaneous in a safe manner. The bus is retrofitted with a mobile library and lounge where users can sing karaoke or watch TV. It stops for an hour or so at certain pre-determined stops, such as in the older HDB estates, to offer riders and local residents health checks and interesting pop-up activity zones.
No 6. Heartland Kaki
The aim of Heartland Kaki is to achieve a lifelong community by keeping existing housing blocks and the social fabric intact while redeveloping the precinct. It allows the elderly to age in place in a familiar setting. By adding new housing layers above existing housing blocks, a younger generation is brought in and an environment suitable for multi-generational living is created. New housing units built above the older ones could also cater to elderly residents who want to “upgrade” to smaller but better-equipped units with integrated technology, without having to leave a familiar location.
No 7. Giving Campus
Situated across the road from a university, the Giving Campus transforms an old school building into an inter-generational hostel and learning centre. By living and learning together, seniors and secondary or tertiary students can form caring, reciprocal relationships. Seniors can go back to school to learn, or volunteer to mentor students. Students can help seniors with grocery shopping, teach them how to use electronic devices and be rewarded with discounts on hostel accommodation.
No 8. Kelong Co-op
Kelong Co-op enables seniors to live with nature like the village life of yesteryear. Groups of modular basic living units are arranged around common areas that become central public spaces. These spaces serve as fishing decks, community farms, or open communal spaces for seniors to relax and enjoy the setting sun. Cluster living allows seniors to live close to people with similar interests. They can work together and take care of one another.
No 9. Healing Stadium
The Healing Stadium is a cluster of apartments for seniors built in an old sports complex with safe green spaces for exercise and onsite care services.Certain parts of the stadium are re purposed into areas for exercise and terrace farming, as well as an animal shelter for pet therapy. Wheelchair-users will find the ramps that lead to their apartments from the jogging track useful. A man-made tropical forest in the heart of the stadium provides a therapeutic landscape and allows seniors with dementia or cognitive challenges to trek independently yet ensure that they do not wander out of the compound.
No 10. Garden of Life
The Garden of Life integrates a hospice with a nature park and tree nursery.
This is where the terminally ill can live out their last days in a tranquil, open and natural setting. It is also a public space for life celebrations. Close friends and relatives can visit residents, have meals, or plant a new tree. The nursery park also serves as an ash garden where a loved one’s ashes are scattered under a tree planted while he or she was still alive, thus closing the loop on the circle of life.
One winner will be picked from readers who voted for the most popular idea to win $1,000 in SPH malls vouchers.
Two winners with the best senior living concepts will also win $1,000 in SPH malls vouchers each.
The contest will run from Sunday, Feb 11, to Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018.
The Straits Times, Lien Foundation and Colours will pick the winners.
Winners will be announced on Sunday, March 4.
Terms and Conditions of Contest
1. Limited to one entry per reader.
2. Staff of SPH and their immediate families are not eligible.
3. Only winners will be notified via e-mail, prize redemption details will be provided in the e-mail.
4. The copyright and all other intellectual property rights in and to all material shall vest solely and absolutely in SPH without further compensation.