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Impact of Aging Toolbox


As people live longer, managing the needs of the aging population is more important than ever. The rapid growth in the number of patients over the age of 65, coupled with mass retirement of boomer-age providers, is putting pressure on an already-stressed healthcare system.

Healthcare leaders must address the complex needs and desires of aging individuals while maintaining the bottom line. And while strategies to support aging should focus on minimizing the strain of disability and illness, there is a large diversity among older generations and the strengths and assets of older individuals must be nurtured as well.

Universal Design Models are changing the lives of aging individuals for the better, enabling flexible and adaptable spaces to support individuals with a range of abilities. Additionally, medical and technological advances are allowing aging individuals to receive medical care in the comfort of their own homes. The Impact of Aging Toolbox is aimed at helping facility designers and medical professionals understand and implement the best possible solutions to support the challenges and opportunities brought about by the growing senior population. These innovative solutions support:

  • Universal Design as Sustainable Design
  • Intergenerational Workplaces
  • Intergenerational Communities
  • Aging in Place
  • In-Home Hospitalization
  • Minimizing Transitions among Care Settings
  • Mobile Health and Telemedicine


In Partnership With:

The Impact Of Aging Toolbox Contains:


An Issue Brief and Executive Summary

  • “Universal Design: Designing for Human Needs”, an executive summary and issue brief, outlines the current state of aging and associated health outcomes, the alignment between universal design and sustainable design strategies inspired by environments for aging, and universal design models that enable flexible and adaptable spaces to support aging needs and human needs”.
  • "Memory Care: The Intersection of Aging and Mental Health", an executive summary and issue brief, outlines the personal abilites and unique challenges faced by aging individuals, including those living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and how thoughtful design can reduce stress associated with declining physical abilities, memory loss, and care provision.   
  • "Healthcare at Home: A White Paper," an issue brief, outlines how a radical shift in the provision of healthcare is occurring. Within the past decade, advances in medical technology, changes in reimbursement structures, the desires and complex care needs of an aging population, and innovative care delivery models have initiated a shift from providing care in hospitals to outpatient settings. And more recently, the acceleration and amplification of these factors is pushing healthcare options even further from the traditional inpatient and outpatient settings towards acute and subacute care in the home. 

Two Design Tools


  • "Dementia-Supportive Environments: Considerations," explores the understanding of the personal abilities and unique challenges faced by aging individuals, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, better equips design teams to create supportive care and living spaces. Changes that can be credited to dementia are noticeably different from the changes typical of normal aging, but both can occur at the same time. 

Design Strategies

  • Aging often involves a multitude of changing needs and priorities. However, there are human needs and desires that remain constant throughout the life course. Design strategies for aging must not only address basic physiological and safety needs, but attend to higher-level human needs as well.  The universal design approach is being adopted by many forward-thinking designers who aim to support equitable, flexible, and accessible environments for all users.
  • Understanding the personal abilities and unique challenges faced by aging individuals, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, better equips design teams to create supportive living spaces. Devising goals that target single symptoms and objectives is not always practical, however, because changes associated with aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias tend to appear in “clusters” rather than in isolation. The design-based evidence associated with designing supportive memory care settings results in 12 programmatic design strategies.


Virtual Workshops 

Project Briefs


Related Resource

  • Impact of Aging Related Resources, this list of resources is made of up of articles, books, policies, organizations, and more, related to the impact of aging. Use this list to learn more about this topic.

Lessons Learned

  • Lessons Learned About the Impact of Aging, the following are compiled from research literature, case studies, interviews, and other materials to provide an overview on the topic of aging populations.  



Click here for more Impact of Aging Toolbox resources.

* Want to learn how to become an Affiliate+ member?  Contact Lynn Kenney, lkenney@healthdesign.org