ENERGIZING! That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about the Environments for Aging Expo and Conference (EFA). It was an honour to present at such a prestigious event – we were humbled by the experience and it validated our genuine belief that good design for our aging population is good design for everyone.

There was a rich beauty in engaging with like-minded professionals who are devoted to raising the bar for seniors’ design and care. It’s critical that we use our individual and collective roles to raise awareness about key issues, advocate for solutions that inspire change, and make the industry more marketable. Through a concerted effort, we can make a difference in how society views the aging population. That means balancing risk with efforts to encourage joy and happiness – the case we are championing.

Our presentation, Optimizing the Aging Brain by Design, focused on just that. Incorporating G. Allen Power’s ‘7 Pillars of Well-Being’ as a backdrop, we highlighted how design needs to support the intangible aspects of people’s lives, including their identity and continued growth, and sense of connectedness, security and autonomy. If we achieve that, we can help our residents experience true joy.

EFA provided insights and ideas for creating purposeful living environments. Our team brought back practical concepts based on the latest innovations and best practices in senior friendly design, including building code challenges, universal design and how to design with empathy and encourage social connections.

We look forward to attending next year’s conference to see how this ever-important topic is progressing. In the meantime, we will continue connecting and designing with the many talented developers, care providers, designers, architects and suppliers we met who are committed to making the lives of seniors more fulfilling.

More than a million people are directly or indirectly affected by dementia in Canada. We need to talk about this now and education is key. Remember, we ALL start aging from the day we are born.

Thank you, Savannah, Georgia for being such a gracious host!

Margot