How to Design Homes for Today’s Aging Population

According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, by the year 2038, 34% of our population will be over the age of 65. With such a large market in mind, builders and designers must find a way to work together to create new compelling, innovative, and functional spaces for our aging population.

At 75 million strong, baby boomers have been a compelling force within the housing market. Given the sheer size of this demographic, as well as their wealth, this generation has the ability to dictate changes in the market — and hopefully will, as they continue to age and desire different features and amenities in their homes, to promote more inclusive design elements.

According to the most recent Housing America’s Older Adults report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, those 65 and older will jump from 26% of the population to 34% percent in 2038, with the fastest-growing age group among them in the 80+ category. However, the report notes that they’re less likely to move, with only 3.6% of individuals aged 65-79 — compared to 13.6% of those under 50 — relocating in 2017-2018, more than half of which relocated within the same county.

This indicates a desire to age in place within their existing communities. But very few homes incorporate the necessary accessibility features for them to do so; according to the latest data available, just 3.5% of all U.S. homes included features such as grab-bars or handrails in the bathroom, extra-wide hallways and doors, and a bedroom on the entry level.

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