There are plenty of living options as you get older and need a bit more help: independent living, assisted living and nursing homes, just to name a few.
But Sweden is piloting a new type of community specifically designed for people with dementia.
Backed by IKEA and built by BoKlok, each unit is called a SilviaBo. They’re designed for people over 55 years old who suffer from dementia. The facilities come already equipped with features that are useful for anyone with a disability, including extra-wide doorways, support handles in the bathrooms, handrails in the shower, electric door openers and more.
According to their website, the mission is to create “a home where you do not have to worry about whether housing adaptation is possible, should it be required. After all, the home should be that safe and good place where you can continue to live life for as long as possible.”
And these houses are doing just that. The first units are being constructed relatively slowly in consultation with mental health professionals to ensure they’re being built to suit the needs of future residents for the long term, a BoKlok spokesperson told Quartz.
One of the experts consulted on the project was Helle Wijk, deputy chair of the University of Gothenburg’s Centre for Person-Centered Care, who said: “I am most impressed with the way evidence-based design was integrated in the residential facilities.”
SilviaBo units are named after Queen Silvia of Sweden, who together with IKEA’s late founder Ingvar Kamprad came up with the idea to create affordable homes that older residents can live in and not move should their health decline.
The first six units are being built outside of Stockholm, with more to come as Sweden’s population ages. The country estimates that by 2050, 25% of the population will be over 65. More than enough time to test the SilviaBo concept.