About Us

Welcome to Ibasho

Ibasho means “a place where you can feel like yourself” in Japanese. At Ibasho we believe this is what every person should have as they age – a place to live in safety, comfort and dignity, where he or she is valued as a person full of history and experience.

Issues that we face now

With the simultaneous rise in the number of elders and in climate-related natural disasters, societies worldwide are facing two critical questions:

  • How can we care for unprecedented numbers of elderly in our society?
  • How can we reduce the vulnerability of elderly populations affected by disasters and empower them to strengthen resilience?

To create an effective response, we need both intelligent policy making and practical solutions emerging from citizen engagement.

Ibasho promotes the value of socially integrating elders and demonstrate the multi-generational social, economic, and environmental benefits of such a community in traditional, developing and modern societies.

Ibasho recognizes that people fear two things as we age — social isolation and losing respect from others in society. Our goal is to create a shared future in which aging is not something to fear, but to enjoy, as a respected and valued member of communities across the globe.

Ibasho partners with local organizations and communities to design and create socially integrated and sustainable communities that value their elders. We create a place where elders find the opportunities to contribute to their community members of all ages.

What do we believe?

A quote found at an elementary school in Bhutan said:
“The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, the way to be happy is to make other people happy.”

Everybody wants to be useful to others, regardless of their age. And nobody wants to be socially isolated, feeling the sense of helpless or useless.

History of Ibasho

Ibasho was born out of the experience of its founder, Dr. Emi Kiyota, who lived with elders in long term care facilities as part of her graduate research. While the staff in these facilities did their best to provide residents with a safe place to live, the elders still experienced feelings of loneliness, boredom, helplessness, and desperation. No one had planned on ending up in a long-term care facility, and no one wanted to live there.

Unfortunately, aging is not an option; it is a natural part of our lives that nobody can avoid. This brings difficult questions: Would I be comfortable with having my loved one in this situation when the time comes? Would I be able to face these living conditions myself? If not, then what can we do to improve people’s later years?

The challenge is not about luxury. Beautiful buildings, furniture, and decorations will not make people happy.
“Elders living in grass huts in Africa with children at their feet are often happier than people in assisted living homes with a chandelier over their heads.”

It is our time to explore options to live our old age with meaning, and we as users should be a part of the creation of a community where we live. All elders should have more to say about where and how to live, to be a part of community, and to be useful to others.

Therefore, it is time for us to shift our way of thinking in order to live a more authentic life in our old age. We should be realistic about aging and the physical changes that we must adjust to, but continue the aspects of life we are used to. Elders say “Please be real with me, because I can take it. Please do not paint the beautiful picture on the surface to pretend everything is fine.”

Ibasho’s Vision

Ibasho envisions a world that embraces the positive qualities of aging while addressing its challenges.

This is not only about innovative housing design, elder care program, or multi-generational approach.
We take a holistic approach to help local partners to create culturally appropriate communities that value elders.

Ibasho engages with local communities to determine their values and desires for the designs through our philosophy: “Write the play first, then build the stage.”

We strive to create an authentic life for elders in a real community. We embrace and advocate the idea of “Beauty lies in imperfection” to achieve our goal.


Mission and Values

What do we do?

Board of Directors

Friends of Ibasho


Ibasho was incorporated as a non-profit in D.C. on May, 2010.
Ibasho obtained tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status on December, 2010.