Aging gracefully is something we think about a lot. With aging of the Baby Boomer population, the building and design industry has a tangible opportunity to improve the quality of life for the 65-plus crowd. You may have noticed the buzz about positive aging is on the rise, shining a spotlight on issues Boomers face every day in modern society. The conversations about social connections, living arrangements, mobility concerns and caretaking are influencing designs and product options across the industry. Here are a few positive aging trends we find inspiring:
Builders are thinking like urban developers.
Developers are thinking long-term by creating neighborhoods that invite social interaction. Sometimes this means reviving a downtown. Other times, it’s a new neighborhood built to promote connectivity and accessibility rather than sprawl. Easy access to safe, walkable streets, community transit with benches at bus stops, and homes suitable for multi-generational households are priorities in pro-pedestrian areas. This kind of thinking bodes well for all generations and certainly addresses seniors’ desire for independence and social interaction.
Universal design is gaining momentum.
Universal design has come a long way with most thinking of it as human-centered design rather than design for the elderly. It only makes sense since the genre centers on lifestyle, activities and personal circumstances. Because so many manufacturers and designers have wised up to universal design, you can easily offer a beautiful space that is both functional and low-maintenance. Think touch-activated faucets, zero-threshold shower bases, slip-resistant floors, night lighting… we could go on, but we bet you have a universal design trick or two up your sleeve already.
Village volunteers are banding together to help seniors stay in place.
The Village to Village aging-in-place concept was born in 2001 with the Beacon Hill Village of Boston. Since then, the concept has grown to nearly 200 villages worldwide with 150 more in development. Essentially the village is a group of mostly volunteers who help seniors age in place more easily by providing assistance with just about anything—rides to doctor appointments, dog-walking services, computer help, housekeeping, social outings, home renovation projects and more.
Age happens. It’s a universal truth, and one that we in the industry can positively affect through universal design in our approach to communities and homes