Scandinavian Age-Inclusive Communities: The Secrets to Their Success

Scandinavian Age-Inclusive Communities: The Secrets to Their Success

Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” – John Lennon.
Scandinavia is much more than just the home of beautiful 
winter landscapes and incredible modern art; it’s a region that has become internationally renowned in recent years for its pioneering approach to building communities that embrace age diversity. Learn more about Scandinavian age-inclusive communities and the secrets to their success.

From sustainability initiatives to cross-generational housing options, and innovative healthcare offerings, there are many reasons why these societies lead the way in promoting inclusion among all ages.

Scandinavian Age-Inclusive Communities: The Secrets to Their Success
Oslo, the capital city of Norway, is setting an example for others on how to become a lively and vibrant age-inclusive community. Photo: Who Internaqtional

 Age-Unity Oslo: Building Inclusive Neighborhoods

Oslo, the capital city of Norway, is setting an example for others on how to become a lively and vibrant age-inclusive community. Spearheaded by The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), Oslo has new universal design plans in motion.These plans embrace every one of its citizens by eliminating any form of discrimination related to age, nationality or sexual orientation.

The core belief is simple: inclusivity enhances quality life for all residents. Oslo’s recently launched action plan ‘Proud and Free’ reinforces these values. This includes creating safer societies for minorities and promoting inclusive workplaces which celebrate diversity like never before. But there’s more, with the elderly population expected to rise by 50,000 before we hit 2040 in Oslo, this demographic shift is seen as an opportunity rather than a challenge here.

Here’s their idea: why not empower elders with better services that allow them to lead active lives? In order to achieve this ideal scenario, Oslo laid down The Action Plan for Age-friendly City along with Safe And Diversified Care Plan. For such endeavors might just change common perception about aging from being institutionalized care receivers into becoming active participants steering their own lives confidently.

For those with a soft spot for art, Oslo is like an alluring masterpiece. Not just filled with natural beauty and architectural wonders, this European city sings praises of the artistic world too. The Astrup Fearnley Museum stands as proof of it. Right in the heart of Oslo’s waterfront rests the boat-shaped museum. Thoughtfully designed by an artist himself Renzo Piano, it safeguards some exceptional collections of contemporary international art from Europe. Each masterpiece here tells tales of American and European pop-art or postmodern appropriation art from the 1980s. Not many cities charm modern art enthusiasts as much as Oslo does. The artistic spirit doesn’t stop there though! It thrives in educational institutions such as Oslo National Academy of Arts and School of Architecture and Design that breed creativity. Who said winters were bleak? In late summers leading into winter time, artists come alive during the ‘Oslo Art Weekend’. The Harbor Promenade glows under Fjord Oslo’s enchanting outdoor light exhibition turning this chilly Scandinavian capital into a vibrant hub for worldwide artistic talents to converge. Regardless of age, this city welcomes and celebrates the diverse voices and visions that contribute to its thriving artistic tapestry.

Scandinavian Age-Inclusive Communities: The Secrets to Their Success, article continues below the image.

In Scandinavian communities, everyone is treated with respect no matter their age. Photo: Who International
Rollator and Norwegian walking arrangement in Oslo.

Sustainability for All: Creating Age-Friendly Societies

In Scandinavian communities, everyone is treated with respect no matter their age. The focus of such societies is on making them friendly to every generation and sustainable for the future. People’s thoughts come together in planning cities or organizing community activities. This teamwork involves elderly residents as well, showing how necessary they are for creating a successful future. Scandinavian countries have begun a project entitled ‘Age-friendly and Sustainable Societies.’

The project aligns with both the Scandinavian Council of Ministers’ Vision 2030 and the World Health Organization’s Decade of Healthy Ageing 2021–2030, aiming to make this region globally admired. Older adults also play an important part through councils formed at all levels from local municipalities to national bodies. To make sure society understands what older people need by having them influence decisions affecting their lives directly. Building these age-inclusive societies shows that nobody is left behind in Scandinavia—and there’s surely much we can learn from them.

Scandinavian Age-Inclusive Communities: The Secrets to Their Success
House of Several Generations in Denmark.

 Age and Wisdom: The Beauty of Cross-Generational Housing

A unique concept evident in some Scandinavian communities is multigenerational and cross-generational housing. We can find one such establishment known as “Generationernes Hus” in Denmark, a collaborative initiative combining the efforts of different sectors, including Health, Care, Social Affairs, and Employment, with Brabrand Housing Association.

The project boasts impressive numbers – 304 rental apartments divided thus; 100 for older persons living independently, another batch reserved as group homes for those needing more care and others assigned to families or disabled people. Some facilities provide the opportunity to Scandinavians where both young adults and seniors harmoniously live under one roof – educational institutions like gymnasiums contribute towards overall community wellness as well. Jumping over to multigenerational housing next wherein we discover the Generations Block – yet another innovative housing development solution catering toward students, seniors (+55), residents with disabilities along with shared spaces accessible by all residents such dining areas or laundromats enhancing intergenerational interaction considerably further so. Shared space coordinators play a key role in ensuring the smooth functionality of said spaces.

Overall, these Scandinavian examples illuminate the possibilities that the modern era can explore when it comes to integrating various generations within a single setting. This approach facilitates individual independence while fostering meaningful communal interactions among residents of different age groups.

Scandinavian societies certainly have a lot to offer when it comes to creating age-friendly communities where everyone can thrive no matter their generation. By leveraging intelligent healthcare solutions as well as sustainable living practices and practical housing models they’ve been able to build inclusive cities that prioritize aging populations without sacrificing innovation or efficiency.

Ultimately, it’s about providing opportunity and access across generations so that each one stands on the shoulders of those who have worked before them while passing knowledge down through time leading to benefit us all now and in future decades.

Scandinavian Age-Inclusive Communities: The Secrets to Their Success
Karoline Gore

Scandinavian Age-Inclusive Communities: The Secrets to Their Success, written dedicatedly for Daily Scandinavian by Karoline Gore. Karoline is a freelance writer from Stoke on Trent in the UK who left the corporate grind when she started a family and has never looked back. She enjoys contributing to a range of online publications on the topics that are important to her.

Feature image (on top):  © Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels


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