Swedish furniture giant launches affordable housing for those with dementia

Senior couple in house Source: Getty Images

As Sweden's ageing population places strain on government resources, one venture offers an affordable and sustainable alternative for those with dementia.

Swedish furniture giant IKEA is partnering with construction company BoKlok to launch sustainable and affordable housing for those suffering from dementia in the country.

'SilviaBo' homes will deliver design features including therapeutic gardens and mirror-less bathrooms, catering towards those suffering from the disease which affects up to 25,000 Swedes every year.

Design considerations including fitting kitchen appliances with old-fashioned knobs, rather than digital controls will improve accessibility, while gardens and clubhouses aim to encourage time spent outdoors.

Floor design will use lighter shades to avoid confused and frightened residents. 

"It's still the same floor layout, but you need to understand how people with dementia react in certain situations," BoKlok CEO Jonas Spangenberg told CNN Business.  

An ageing population

The launch is hoped to improve quality of life, and offer an alternative to government-funded aged care facilities. 

"We see a growing problem ... that [people] are ending up in institutions where they do not want to end up," he said.

The housing is an effort to relieve government spending and resources, strained from an ageing population.

"To take care of elderly people, that cost is exploding,” Mr Spangenberg said.

In 2050 the proportion of elderly people in the Swedish population is expected to have increased to 25 per cent

"It's much cheaper for society and the public to give them service back home”.

"If we can crack the code where you can continue to live at a home or an apartment that is more suitable for you, even with various syndromes, we believe we could do a good thing for society," he said.

Aerial view of suburb
Aerial view of suburb
Getty Images

SilviaBo homes will operate under a ‘Left to Live’ payment model, residents will only be charged what they can afford after taxes and living expenses.

The venture will use industrialised production, produce large volumes to cut prices and save time planning.

Control of the entire supply chain, land acquisition, factory production, on-site construction, sales and marketing, will further reduce cost.

BoKlok has built a small pilot with six apartments outside Stockholm and is starting to talk to local governments about land and zoning, expecting progress next year.

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