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A Brief But Spectacular take on designing better lives for all


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

John Yang: Emi Kiyota is an internationally recognized leader on healthy aging. Inspired by her grandmother's experience, Kiyota helps create elder communities with spaces that accommodate everyone. Tonight, Kiyota shares her Brief But Spectacular take on designing better lives for all.

Emi Kiyota, Global Brain Health Institute: I was born and raised in a small farm in the countryside of Japan. My mother's side of grandmother who really looked after me for a long time decided that she had to go to nursing home because her memory was slipping.

Six months later, I visited her. And I asked at the nursing home with her name, and no one knew. I just had to do something about this situation.

What the environmental gerontologist do is to study about how environment impact on people's behaviors being around older person was really part of my life growing up. I think it's a different phase of life that they're going through. But when I see them, what they see their strengths and what they see is a spirit.

Aging is very different because you're going to grow into so when we have ageism issues to others, we are actually discriminating against ourselves. My interest of the design for nursing home was coming from my grandmother's experience. She was not able to go out from the room. Everything was locked from outside. And I felt like the design was not based on the trust of what other person can do.

My approach of Designing Spaces is really tried to see the point of view of the users how can we create the space to accommodate everybody's needs to create socially integrated and sustainable community that value older person rather than looking after older person.

What we try to do is to change the narrative. Too often, you know, our elders are cut off from the daily life of our society, we want to change that by really working with older person from the beginning. We construct with elders to find the space where they can find contributions to the community, rather than they go in and being looked after.

We have to ask other people how they want to live, although people are the experts actually have their own life and why not ask them. One thing I cannot reconcile is that if I were to be able to do this for my grandmother who already passed, she could have had a better life. That is something that I cannot really let go. I'm sure my grandmother will be happy if I help others, but I just wish I could help her to. My name is Emi Kiyota. This is my Brief But Spectacular take on designing better life for us.

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