Above: CEO of the Humanitas Foundation, Dr Hans Becker

By Yasmin Noone

One of the most well-known international names in age-friendly housing – CEO of the Humanitas Foundation, Dr Hans Becker – will visit Sydney for an ‘Apartments for Life’ (AFL) workshop on Friday 10 June.

The workshop, The Business and Art of Human Happiness for Seniors, will mark Dr Becker’s only Australian stop of his whirlwind speaking tour, offering attendees a chance to learn the finer details behind The Netherlands’ AFL model. 

Run in partnership with The Benevolent Society (Ben Soc), the full-day workshop aims to provide attendees with the inside story about how AFL facilities are managed and operated, as well as its secrets to success.

“What I’m excited about is that the workshop will allow a significant chunk of time for participants to ask a lot of questions so they can really gain an understanding of the way the AFL model in Rotterdam works in practice,” said Barbara Squires, Ben Soc’s general manager- ageing.

“Hans is coming to Australia with two team members who both have vast experience in AFL operations.

“This will really give attendees an opportunity to dig into the details about AFL more deeply. I know from my visits to Rotterdam that there’s quite a lot of variation in the way that the model works in different parts of the city. Understanding the different ways the model works and the reasons for those differences will prove to be very valuable.”

Dr Becker’s AFL ‘Ageing in Place’ model of housing is based on a philosophy of human happiness and is the inspiration behind 1,700 apartments which deliver an annual turnover of 100 million Euros.

“It is so refreshing to come across something like AFL that’s built on the main outcome of providing happiness.

“The introduction of the Productivity Commission’s draft report starts from a similar premise – that we shouldn’t be looking at models of housing or care that make life easier for the operator. Instead, we should be looking for systems of care and housing that older people want and we should give them the best opportunity to lead lives that are as happy and as independent as possible.”

Around 150 people from the aged care and retirement living sectors are expected to attend the workshop, including those who have seen the AFL facilities in Rotterdam first-hand but want to learn more and those who are yet to visit. 

The workshop will cover the Humanitas story of growth, change and innovation; how to apply the Humanitas model to an Australian context; the challenges of the Bondi AFL project; how to create living environments that overcome loneliness by seniors; how to change attitudes towards your organisation’s delivery of care, and more.

“Hans is that rare combination of an idealist who starts with the happiness of older people as his aim, but he is also a very smart businessman who is constantly innovating. Our AFL at Bondi would not have been possible without the lessons from Humanitas.”

Dr Becker’s speaking tour is being organised by Ageing Asia. The Sydney workshop will run from 9am-6pm and will be held at the Sydney Masonic Centre.

For more information about the event or to attend, click here.

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