The University of Calgary has published an interesting analysis of some groundbreaking work between the Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS) and the Public Health, Nursing and Medicine Departments.Knowing that by 2030 four of every five new households will be by seniors, and also that older people will  make up 80 per cent of the housing demand, the university wanted to explore homes that allow seniors requiring monitoring  and those with limited mobility to age in place. These are not for active seniors, but those that require sophisticated design in order to maintain independence and live near families.

The senior architecture design studio incepted a very cool small laneway house that could be constructed in the typical Calgary back yard. The difference between what we in Vancouver call a laneway house? These are smart moveable adaptable spaces designed for older people with slower reflexes and not as good perception, created in consultation with health care professionals, planners and architects. And those spaces are going to be examined and trialled by oldsters. This Global TV video walks you through a smart seniors moveable unit catering to seniors requiring assistance.

While advances in home health technology have the potential to solve some of the housing obstacles facing Canada’s seniors, limited commercial success has been experienced to date, in part because the technology has been developed in isolation from the expertise of architects and planners, the realities of the residential construction industry, and the priorities of the housing market.

 The CBC reports that the 460 square foot living quarters locate on a single family lot would be cheaper than a hospital or long-term care facility, and allow seniors closer access to family. The homes could be self-contained or have an above ground “umbilical cord” that could tap into water, heat, electricity, cable and internet from main home. These units would require a medical note, and would be rented just as a wheelchair or other assistive device is acquired.

The intent is for the units to be leased and to be moved from property to property as they are needed.When the unit is no longer needed it can be moved to another property and used by another senior. The City of Calgary is looking at how to permit a temporary use designation for these units, seeing this as a way to allow infirm seniors to continue to age in place in their own communities.