AILA president says landscape architects can drive change for ageing population

Seniors-focussed parks could support healthier ageing
Seniors-focussed parks could support healthier ageing

Landscape architects could play an important role in healthy living for an ageing population through seniors-focused exercise parks, according to the national president of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), Mark Frisby.

Frisby's comments come in response to Victoria University's collaborative research with play and fitness equipment company Lappset Australia in which the team will assess the impact that dedicated exercise parks for seniors could have on their mental and physical health. Research will be undertaken at Sunshine North, outside Melbourne, built last year for seniors, where users are being monitored.

Commenting on the role the profession can play in supporting senior health, Frisby said, ‘Landscape architects create a better future for society when we combine the strengths of landscape architects with allied organisations, such as Lappset Australia and Victoria University, at the outset of everything we do.’

As the global 60-plus demographic is currently growing faster than any other age group, the hope is that easy access to purpose-built physical exercise equipment will help people stay fitter as they age, avoiding common causes of injury such as falls.

Initial results of the local study are expected later this year.

In the UK, Lappset is currently planning senior fitness zones at Age UK Milton Keynes, where equipment will be inside a clear glass conservatory on a thick rubber base in case of falls, and at a West Country care home, which will incorporate ‘islands’ of senior fitness equipment in its grounds. 

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