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Project DESIRE: DESIgn for all methods to cREate age-friendly housing

Europe is currently facing an ageing population, with the number of people over the age of 65 projected to increase significantly in the coming years. This presents a number of challenges, particularly in terms of ensuring the comfort and health of older adults.

The Erasmus+ DESIRE project, funded by the European Commission, is set to change the way in which age-friendly housing is designed and created. The project, which stands for DESIgn for all methods to cREate age-friendly housing, aims to provide professionals in the building industry and home furnishings sector with the tools and skills they need to apply Design4All methods as an integral part of the design process.

The project is being led by a team of experts from across Europe, including architects, designers, and researchers. They have worked closely to develop and disseminate best practices in age-friendly design. The project includes five partners: the Technical University of Bratislava (coordinators of the project) and the Institute of Ethnology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences from Slovakia, SHINE 2Europe from Portugal, CETEM from Spain, and the Slovenian partner InnoRenew CoE.

The ultimate goal of the DESIRE project is to help create or adapt age-friendly housing as a solution for the wellbeing, comfort, and autonomy of older adults. This type of housing is designed to be accessible and adaptable to the changing needs of older individuals, allowing them to age in place with dignity and independence. One of the key features of age-friendly housing is the use of universal design principles, which ensure that the housing is accessible to people of all ages, abilities, and needs. This can include features such as wider doorways and corridors, easy-to-use fixtures and fittings, and accessible bathrooms and kitchens.

The DESIRE project provides training and support to professionals in the building industry, helping them to understand and apply these principles in their design work. This will not only benefit older individuals, but also people with disabilities and other specific needs.

Project partners have developed an online educational platform that brings together knowledge from various relevant fields and makes it accessible to people with different educational and professional backgrounds. The platform is free to use and offers a range of interactive quizzes that learners can take to test their knowledge. Upon completing the quizzes, learners can receive a certificate. The platform is designed to provide learners with a comprehensive and engaging learning experience that can help them to develop the skills and knowledge they need to contribute to the design of accessible, usable, and comfortable products, furnishings, and living spaces for older adults. The content is prepared in a way to ensure that it can benefit learners with different levels of knowledge.

As the project is coming to an end, project partners have recently presented the project outcomes in a series of multiplier events, where the interested stakeholders had the opportunity to learn more about the project and discuss relevant topics with the project partners. The multiplier events have also provided an opportunity to receive feedback about the project from the audience, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The public recognizes the need to focus on improving the quality of life of older adults by improving the quality of their homes.

The DESIRE project is an important step towards creating a more inclusive and accessible built environment for all individuals, regardless of their age or ability. By providing the tools and skills needed to create age-friendly housing, the project aims to improve the quality of life for older adults and support their autonomy and independence.

New developments related to the DESIRE project are available on social media (#DESIREprojectEU) and on the official DESIRE website.