TweetShare425ShareEmail425 SharesNationally renowned aging expert Dr. Bill Thomas unveiled today the first-of-its-kind robotic prefabricated Minka house built on the University of Southern Indiana (USI) campus in less than a week featuring universal design accessibility and advanced manufacturing technology. The Minka will serve as a model house, simulation lab for USI students and a building block for creating age-friendly communities.The USI Minka model house is the culmination of a year-long “MAGIC” (Multi-Ability, multi-Generational, Inclusive Community) pilot project supported by the USI Foundation and AARP that is kickstarting a cultural transformation related to aging and community design. It builds off Dr. Thomas’ near 30 years of innovation as founder of The Eden Alternative global non-profit, The Green House Project, Senior Emergency Room and ChangingAging.org.“This Minka house represents history in the making,” said Dr. Ann White, dean of USI’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. “This exciting pilot project is bringing together a variety of academic disciplines on our campus to work with Dr. Thomas and our community in innovative ways. USI is proud to be a leader in exploring new approaches and solutions to the broader societal issues of aging and independent living for all people.” Dr. Bill Thomas speaks at the USI MAGIC Minka ribbon cutting.Minka, launched in 2017 by Dr. Thomas, is now working to design and build MAGIC communities with partners in Evansville, as well as in Clearfield, Penn., Loveland, Colo., Victoria, Texas and other communities. Minka’s prefabricated housing system was created in collaboration with Denmark-based AGJ Architects to develop a globally-affordable housing platform that can be adapted to meet the needs of people of different ages and abilities.In Pennsylvania, a vacant elementary school and 23 acres of woodland purchased by the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) this month will be transformed into an intergenerational dementia-friendly community featuring Thomas’ Minka and the MAGIC model inviting people of all ages to live together.The Clearfield AAA partnered with Dr. Thomas’ New York-based Minka and AJGA to develop the 60-home “Minka Village of Hope.” The development will include a mix of single family and multi-family Minka homes featuring smart home technology, universal design accessibility and will repurpose the schoolhouse into a mixed-use commercial and arts engagement center. Draft site plan for the Village of Hope Minka village.To create places where people living with dementia can thrive, Dr. Thomas says “we must build communities that embrace people of different ages and abilities, rather than putting them in institutions just because they are frail or forgetful.“I spent decades fighting to make the long-term care system better and created innovative alternatives such as The Green House,” Thomas said. “But I’ve also learned that people want real communities, not facilities.”The Girard Goshen Elementary School, closed since 2013, will be converted into a community center featuring a mix of retail, health services and local creative arts engagement programs designed with community participation to help reconnect people living with dementia to their community, said Clearfield County AAA director Katherine Gillespie.“Our families are devastated by skyrocketing rates of Alzheimer’s disease because our communities quite frankly are not designed to include them and help them thrive,” said Clearfield County AAA director Kathleen Gillespie. “We’re partnering with Dr. Thomas to build the Village of Hope to give families hope that people living with dementia can participate and enjoy life when they live in a community that welcomes and includes them.”Clearfield community stakeholders embraced an emphasis on arts engagement in the first of a series of MAGIC participatory design workshops led by Dr. Thomas’ team in August 2018.“Each person lives with a unique set of physical and cognitive abilities, and every one of us needs to use those abilities to their fullest extent. The creative arts offer some amazing pathways for building relationships and communities,” said Thomas, who launched Minka after spending four years touring North America with a theatrical production called the ChangingAging Tour that has performed in 128 cities. Sponsored by AARP, the tour uses theatrical arts and participatory design to support age-friendly and dementia-friendly community development in the U.S. and Canada.Both the USI MAGIC project and the Village of Hope draw on the Tour to support people of all ages and abilities to overcome the social stigma associated with aging or memory loss, said Minka director Kavan Peterson, who co-founded ChangingAging and leads its age- and dementia-friendly programs.“For decades the only story we’ve heard about aging is one of loss, decline and despair,” Peterson said. “But there is a new story. It is a story of connection, expression, joy and growth. It is a story told by people living with dementia, by those who love them, and by people of all ages who want to live in diverse and welcoming communities.” Related PostsI Believe in MAGICOur goal is to bring people together and look at ways to inspire and sustain a genuine human community.Grateful Changemakers: ChangingAgingAll of ChangingAging’s performances, all of our advocacy, all of our innovation is driven at its core by love. Love is the driving force behind combating ageism.The Minka Factory Opens Its DoorsJust outside of Ithaca, New York in a newly constructed warehouse. Sandwiched between a local solar company and a Lime Bike depot is another innovative and earth-friendly neighbor. The very first Minka factory rolled open it’s doors earlier this month. Zach Thomas, Director of Manufacturing and master builder Jeremy Andrews…TweetShare425ShareEmail425 SharesTags: Dementia Housing Minka
Willard “Bud” Jenkins was assumed to be dead, his body lost — killed during one of the most famous battles of World War II. Jenkins, originally from Pennsylvania, was declared missing in action on September 20, 1944, the same day as the Waal River Crossing during Operation Market Garden. It was an Allied effort planned and led by the British that did not succeed. It was considered the largest airborne attack up to that point in World War II.Thank you for your service.A paratrooper with Company C, 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Jenkins attempted to cross the river near Nijmegen, the Netherlands, in a fleet of boats, all the while facing intense enemy fire.U.S. Army paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division parachute from a C-130 Hercules aircraft during Operation Toy Drop, 2007, at Pope Air Force Base.Jenkins was shot in the chest and fell overboard, according to media accounts. His body was not recovered at the time because enemy forces controlled the area downstream where his body appeared to have ended up.His remains were finally identified and his family notified in the U.S.; the military has not disclosed how the identification was made so many years after, or if this is a case of misidentifying that has been corrected.The paratrooper’s remains have been sent to America. A funeral is being planned.Fort Bragg.“Recently, the soldiers on Fort Bragg praised the return of Jenkins’ remains,” reported the Fayetteville Observer on July 15th.“The entire 82nd Airborne Division celebrates the identification and return of one of the World War II paratroopers who liberated Europe,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino, a division spokesman. “Bringing Willard Jenkins home and properly honoring him is important to us.”The Waal River Crossing was depicted in the film A Bridge Too Far. There were 26 boats that launched from the shore, and only 13 returned. Of that number, eight were able to make trips back and forth across the deadly river.WWII veteran buried with military honors 17 years after his deathLast year, another American lost in Europe in World War II was finally identified — the circumstances of his death in Germany in 1945 and the body’s preservation were rather bizarre.He died in a crash into a tree, and for more than 70 years that tree protected the body of the World War II fighter pilot.The remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William Gray of Kirkland, originally from Washington State, were returned to his family in 2017 with full military honors.“The 21-year-old Gray was on a dive-bombing mission on April 16, 1945, when his single-seat P-47D aircraft clipped a tree and crashed in Lindau,” according to The New York Post.P-47 Thunderbolt“The bones they found were embedded in the tree,” Gray’s niece Jan Bradshaw told the media.Her brother Doug Louvier added, “It grew over his remains and really protected and marked the spot.”As for Jenkins, he had been buried as an “unknown” at an American cemetery in Margraten, the Netherlands, according to the Charlotte Observer.He was listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery along with other missing soldiers from the war, officials said. A rosette will now be placed next to his name to indicate that he has been accounted for.Waves of paratroopers land in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.Operation Market Garden was daring — it was the brainchild of the British General Bernard Montgomery.According to DailyHistory, “the Germans had anticipated that there would be an offensive launched with the objective of seizing Arnhem, Wesel and Nijmegen. A senior intelligence officer argued that the British and the American would use airborne troops. However, he did not predict where the assault would be. Nevertheless, German intelligence was able to provide the High Command with the information they needed to prepare for any planned Allied attack.”Bernard Law Montgomery.A British intelligence officer attempted to inform General Montgomery that the Germans were preparing for the assault, but he was not believed. Later, that officer reportedly had a nervous breakdown.Read another story from us: Hunger Plan: Herbert Backe, the Nazi behind one of the greatest engineered famines everIn Operation Market Garden, the Allies suffered about 15,000 casualties including PoWs. The weather and other factors were widely blamed.Montgomery later insisted that the operation was 90 percent successful.Bernhard, Prince of the Netherlands, said, “My country can never again afford the luxury of another Montgomery success.”Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com.