A co-designed service concept for elderly care in Maasmechelen

Maaslands Huis is the social housing agency of the village of Maasmechelen (Belgium). They see their target audience getting older. To cater to these elder tenants, Maaslands Huis wanted to extend their offering with care and other services. The question to be addressed was: “which services need to be present in a living environment, to enable people to stay at home longer?”

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What did they do?
Maaslands Huis partnered with design agency Studio Dott to research the needs of the target audience and design a concept for an innovative residential care zone.

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Personal interviews with seniors from Maasmechelen and their caretakers, observational research in current care-living areas and desk research into solutions abroad lead to the insights that would form the basis of the design.

Based on these insights, the design team determined the preconditions for the care-living area and developed ideas for services, through co-creation workshops with Maaslands Huis, seniors, caretakers and possible suppliers. Additionally they designed a spatial plan for the future care-living area.

What was the result?
The result of this project is Kruiswijk, a neighbourhood where seniors and dependent people can live and feel at home. Quite literally so, as they have a say in their new homes and don’t need to leave their favorite stuff behind.

Kruiswijk offers services for all aspects of life, refusing to reduce people to their care need. Residents stay in the driving seat and choose which services to use. At the same time this array of services attracts visitors from surrounding areas, resulting in a lively, diverse neighbourhood.
Residents and visitors contribute to the community: by helping out, sharing food, giving rides or sharing their talents. This allows professional caretakers to spend their time there where it makes the biggest difference.

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Kruiswijks architecture reflects its spirit: an open neighbourhood where everything is close by. The care logistics take place behind the scenes but are optimized to keep everything affordable.

Kruiswijk is a modular service concept, allowing (parts of) it to be reused in other contexts.

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