AALST LOOKS TO SHINE THE SPOTLIGHT ON CARE!
The project was borne out of the desire by the town of Aalst to enable senior citizens to continue living in a home environment with which they are familiar, by providing appropriate care resources. The central challenge was both to research the ideal location for a residential care home and to promote Aalst as a town which provides the very best care resources. To achieve this, two co-creation projects were launched based on a service-design approach.
In the first project, Studio Dott worked with the AIPA (Ageing in place Aalst) platform to research the requirements in terms of the infrastructure, social and societal preconditions for every elderly person to continue living in an environment which is familiar to them. Ideas and solutions were identified in a co-creative setting with local residents, carers, city employees and business owners. At each workshop, other methods were used to encourage participants to come up with ideas. By continuously building on the insights gleaned and progress made during prior meetings, little by little the path for the project was mapped out. The result was a number of short-term solutions (e.g. pop-up meeting areas, care taxis, parking cards for carers and a social manager) which are quick and easy to implement.
Alongside this project, Studio Dott also partnered with Pantopicon to devise an initiative with business owners in Aalst itself and the surrounding area to establish the town as one which provides the very best care resources. The emphasis here was on what the concept of ‘care’ should entail, and opportunities for care entrepreneurs. Eight workshops were held, and three concepts identified: a care office, a care park and a care hub.
Research has now been completed and the concepts are being studied by the town authorities and local business owners. However, the sessions generated more than a few quick wins. Some inspiring visions were expressed and the co-creation approach gave carers and other businesses in Aalst the opportunity to forge new partnerships and develop initiatives.