NICA Collaboration Hub



Accelerator: Workshop 2 Report from Table 1 – Building reserve and reactivation Lead: Paul Koshy

Posted by Anja McCarthy (Admin) 1 month ago Posted in Innovation for Ageing Workshops


How might we ensure that people are living in the most appropriate environment for their stage of life?

How might we build confidence in people to encourage them to regain function?

This table attracted 10 participants representing 1 housing association, 2 SMEs (including 1 CIC), 1 architecture practice, 1 building society, 2 VOICE representatives and 3 postgraduate students.

The first exercise drew out issues relating to the house or surrounding area that result in older people declining more quickly. These were grouped into the following broad categories.

The categories were:

  • Size and suitability of the home
  • Location of the home and access to amenities and transport
  • Safety and security concerns
  • Social opportunities and isolation
  • Mindsets

The next exercise identified barriers to needs arising from the prior exercise.




Starting off in the right home

Current “poor design” of homes:

  • Need homes suitable for a wider range of abilities
  • “Traditional homes designed for 40% of the population when we should design for the 80%”

Right-sizing – moving to a more appropriate home


Potential problems: Functionally inappropriate; home/garden too large; unused rooms; expensive to heat; high ceilings; stairs too difficult.

Negative perceptions:

  • Seen as “down-sizing”, rather than “right-sizing”
  • Moving away from connections and routines
  • Detaching from memories, nostalgia
  • Difficult to downsize and declutter
  • Fear of moving
  • Alternatives “look like it’s for older people”



  • Limited choice
  • Financial constraints
  • Funding is reactive, rather than preventative

Getting out and about



Uneven paving; Steep banks; Poor access to public transport; Early evenings in winter; Weather; Poor lighting; Rough areas; Fear for safety; Fear of falls

Access to public transport and amenities (shops, doctors, library, cashpoints)

  • Local community facilities closing
  • New housing builds distant from local amenities

Social interaction


Challenge of changing communities and culture: Loss of the neighbourhood; Reduced human connection; Feel less secure; Activities-based, interest-based and digital social circles

  • Diminishing social circle
  • Don’t know neighbours
  • Distance from family or friends
  • Limited understanding of value of exercise
  • Limited opportunities for keeping active
  • Lower levels of computer and tech illiteracy




Resistance to change; Don’t want to be told what to do; Put up with it: “I’m managing”


The final part of the workshop was focused on ideation. Several ideas were explored and the following two were selected by the group for presentation.

  1. Invisible adaptations (currently being developed by the housing association participant, but also mentioned independently by an SME participant):
    1. Current situation: Clunky, unattractive, undesirable adaptation fitted into a home at the point of need;
    2. Solution: Functional, universal design, features pre-built into homes that can be used by a person at any time of life as and when needed – and be a better home to grow old in.
    3. Sensorised intergenerational homes (currently being developed by the Future Homes Alliance, but elements were also mentioned by an SME participant) and including:
      1. Moveable walls to enable the home to adapt to stage of life
      2. Inbuilt, invisible Wifi
      3. Smart home tech, such as (i) early morning trigger based on water use; and/or (ii) movement detectors to pick up on changes in rhythm
      4. Digital user guide / control panel for the home.

 (In the end only idea 2 was presented, as idea 1 also came out of the work undertaken by Table 5.)

This post was edited on Jan 28, 2019 by Steph Oxley

This post has 2 subscribers
SIGN IN or REGISTER NOW to join the discussion