ACCESS Health Sweden developed an initiative in 2015 to discover best practices other countries use for elder care. In this interview, Dr. Hans Becker, chair of the Managing Board of the Humanitas Foundation, introduces his approach to elder care and discusses Humanitas Apartments for Life, a housing option for independent senior living.

Becker believes autonomy improves quality of life for seniors. He has built more than fifteen Humanitas Apartments for Life housing complexes in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Apartments for Life operate according to four core tenets: (1) “Be your own boss,” which empowers residents to make decisions for themselves; (2) “Use it or lose it,” which encourages residents to remain physically and mentally active; (3) “An extended family approach,” which eliminates the divide between residents and care providers by involving residents in daily work; and (4) “A culture of yes,” in which staff do their best to accommodate any new idea, proposal, or request from a resident.

Becker’s model of care has inspired organizations around the world. Independent living combined with high quality healthcare produces a better quality of life for an aging population.