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.
The following strategies have been identified in the current evidence-based design literature as supporting a universal design approach. These are best reviewed at the very beginning of a project to assess the “fit” of each strategy to your unique vision. Design teams should work with owners and user groups to ensure that these goals are integrated into the final design. Note: These considerations are generalizable to multiple building types.
These are concepts drawn from the literature reviewed in the Impact of Aging Issue Brief:
Piatkowski, M. & Taylor, E. (2016). Universal Design: Designing for Human Needs (Research brief). Concord, CA: The Center for Health Design.