Victor Regnier is, perhaps, the nation’s leading authority on the design and development of senior housing with service across the LTSS continuum. A joint professor at USC’s School of Architecture and Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, Regnier is the only person to achieve fellowship status in both the American Institute of Architects and the Gerontological Society of America.
As a designer and practicing architect, he has provided consulting advice on more than 400 building projects in 38 states and several foreign countries. As an academic, he has written 10 books or monographs and directed more than 20 research projects. Regnier’s latest book, Housing Design for an Increasingly Older Population, was published in September 2018.
Gerontology Institute Director Len Fishman recently talked with Regnier about northern European models of senior housing with supportive services and their influence on housing for older adults in the United States. The following is an edited version of their conversation.
Len Fishman: Your view of housing and services for older adults has been deeply influenced by models from Northern Europe, especially Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands. How did this happen?
Victor Regnier: I had been working on a research project with the head of geriatric medicine at UCLA in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s. I wanted to examine new housing models and had an upcoming sabbatical. He said I should go to northern Europe. He had been impressed by their attitudes and perspective on creating non-institutional circumstances for older people, especially older frail people. I ended up going to five countries. I asked to see the most non-institutional or residential housing for the frailest individuals and visited 100 buildings.
LF: You were coming from a country where, at that point, there was no assisted living to speak of and the idea of housing with supportive services hadn’t emerged yet. What were your impressions? Continue reading