02 | 2006

Renovating homes to have clear passages would improve quality of life

Serious lack of renovating services bother elderly

According to a survey carried out by VTT, elderly people would like to find a renovator that could make clear passages in their homes as a turnkey solution. The public sector should clearly support the renovation projects of the would-be elderly that aim at making their homes free of obstacles, as new building alone is not adequate to meet the housing and service needs of the aging population. However, there are currently not enough comprehensive services in the renovating business, which means there will be a large demand for them in the next few years.

As senior citizens and old people want to live at home, or at least in a familiar neighbourhood, for as long as possible, homes will need to be renovated in the near future. Supporting living at home by changing the homes so that they are suitable for senior citizens and old people is beneficial to society as well.

Services wanted as a turnkey solution

In addition to other consumer groups, senior citizens require home renovation services as a turnkey solution. VTT has developed business models for comprehensive services in renovation, where the service consists of equipment and material deliveries as well as versatile assembly and repair. However, there is currently not enough comprehensive knowledge and service offerings with regard to how to renovate kitchens and bathrooms in Finland. This means that that the comprehensive services purchased by senior citizens will create new opportunities within the business.

Senior living around service centres

As part of the study VTT also developed a frame of reference for senior living, a so-called circle model, to support the planning of senior living. According to the model, the core of a single cell in urban living is formed by a service centre provided by public and private parties. There are sheltered houses, senior houses and houses with senior apartments among the ordinary apartments around the service centre and in the nearby area. It is possible to eat, take part in activities, keep fit, enjoy supporting services and spend time at the service centre, and it is also easy to take public and private help from the core to the homes of senior citizens and old people.

Decade of the senior citizens will begin in 2010

The aging of the population in Finland is the fastest in Europe. The decade of the senior citizens will begin in 2010, as the large generation born after 1945 will reach the age of sixty-five. With them, the decade of old people will begin in 2020.

The aging population will demand more and more living and renovation services both in owner-occupied and rented houses.

VVO, a company that participated in the financing of the VTT study, owns almost 40,000 apartments. VVO says that the study serves as a good starting point to their senior strategy. However, more emphasis will be put on the development of current tenements than on new senior houses. Renovating an apartment to be free of obstacles is expensive for the owner of the flat or house, but inexpensive for society. In order to speed up the process, society is expected to provide new financing methods.

Part of the extensive "Senior Living in the Future" project

The Business Models of Senior Living in the Future project was funded by Tekes, VVO, the City of Tampere, Rakennustoimisto Palmberg, Sato-Rakennuttajat, the Northern Satakunta Development Centre, Estera and Suomen Ensiapupalvelu Oy.


Additional information

VTT is an impartial expert organisation. Its objective is to develop new technologies, create new innovations and value added thus increasing customer's competencies. With its know how VTT produces research, development, testing and information services to public sector and companies as well as international organisations.