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American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging Unveils Design for 2010 Idea House

American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging Unveils Design for 2010 Idea House

 |  by Levent Ozler
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The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) recently released images that depict its 2010 AAHSA Idea House, a 2,600-square-foot model home that represents the future of senior housing. The Idea House will be built for the AAHSA Annual Meeting and Exposition October 31-November 3, 2010 in Los Angeles. Designed with interactivity, socialization and changing mental and physical needs in mind, the house features the latest in senior housing technology from more than 25 companies.

The Idea House was conceived as a "Think Tank" for the future of senior housing, and can be applied to different levels of care and diverse building types. For example, the house can be used as a "care cottage" where many older adults live and receive services, or be turned into a multi-story community where much of the technology and design can be easily modified or integrated.

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"Attendees will find that many of the design elements in the house are aesthetically appealing, while at the same time help older people maintain independence," said Larry Minnix, president and CEO of AAHSA. "Whether you are 45 or 90, the Idea House provides the features and flexibility that offer years of comfort."

The Idea House design encompasses three guiding principles: aging -in-place design, use of technology, and sustainability. The house will be designed to be flexible and aesthetically appealing, creating a space that residents will want to live in at any age. The house's features will also adapt to residents' current and future needs, allowing them to stay in their own home as long as possible and empowering them to remain independent.

The technology used in the home will also represent the most recent innovations in senior housing. Technological systems will monitor motion, medication and weight, and will close and steady communication with family and friends through multiple media applications. In addition, the house features novel products such as PARO, a therapeutic robot baby seal that acts as a substitute for live animal therapy, and MyWay Village, a social network for older people, communities and families.

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Finally, the house will contribute to a healthy, natural and environmentally conscious lifestyle. To this end, the house is planned as a "net zero" building that is independent of the energy grid. Southern exposed courtyards, exterior shade devices and a consideration for natural light and proper ventilation will also contribute to energy savings. There will be a 2600-square-foot outdoor area, complete with Tai Chi and yoga gardens for holistic wellness, an energy-producing windmill, and space for gardening. A "green" roof and wall system has been planned as well. Designers will also use recycled products as well as water and energy-saving devices, such as low flow fixtures and lighting/window shade controls.

The house was designed by the Atlanta office of THW Design to appeal to both consumers and aging service providers, ensuring that the features and technology within the house can be used by an independent older person or residential community to benefit wellness.

"We sought to blend functionality and beauty when designing the Idea House, as well as create ample opportunity for socialization and improved health," said Eric Krull, an associate at THW Design. "It's been proven that socialization has a big impact on the autoimmune system and overall health, and we took this into account when designing the project."
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