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Innovative design that keeps an aging population in mind

Designing for the aging population is becoming increasingly important for a variety of facilities. Hospitals, offices and other commercial structures are adapting their designs to ensure that seniors are better able to navigate spaces and live an independent life.

Why is it important to design for the aging population?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the elderly population is expected to more than double between now and 2050. This will bring the number of seniors in the nation to 80 million or roughly one out of five adults over the age of 65. One of the greatest challenges facing architects and designers in the next 30 years will be to meet this new demand. The American Society of Interior Designers claims this will require modifications to senior housing, hospitality structures, retail stores and healthcare facilities.

Because of the confusion, the ASID Design for Aging Council has been created to help designers better meet the needs of seniors and those who are caring for them. The agency is looking to how the age wave is expected to impact interior design practices for all types of structures and will look to create guidance on issues like accessibility, visitability and universal design.

ASID Design for Aging Council's goals
▪ Identify and develop information to teach interior designers about the needs of seniors and how to work effectively with other professionals who provide them care and services.
▪  Work to share information to the media and public about how interior designers help meet the needs of an aging population and improve seniors' quality of life.
▪  Use and develop case studies about the many needs a structure will have to meet for the various stages of aging in both private and public spaces.
▪  Create partnerships with other industry professionals who will also be working to develop better spaces for seniors and foster collaboration.
▪  Improve communication between the various groups working to build, design and work within spaces that serve those older than 65.     
▪  Assess current and future opportunities for interior designers that relate to improved education about the needs of seniors and key trends in the field of aging.

Design considerations for a hospital
As healthcare facilities play a crucial role in the treatment of seniors, they are a primary concern for those who wish to update structures to better serve this growing portion of the population. Healthcare Design Magazine reported that senior-friendly design is increasingly necessary and those working in this sector are becoming more aware of the changes to current facilities that need to happen to better meet these needs. Some senior-friendly features are becoming more familiar to the acute care side of the healthcare sector as more seniors are walking in the front door of facilities. These include reduced-glare flooring, the training of cleaning staff to avoid over-waxing floors, more sensitive lighting, color contrast in design and nature-based art. Providing quieter, comfortable waiting areas that are devoid of the blaring sounds of a television are also part of an interior design that is intended to service seniors. 

How ASST can help interior designers create senior-friendly hospital spaces
Smart medical centers that are designed with seniors in mind will easily become favorite magnet locations and symbols of a dedication to high-quality care. To make sure that a hospital is able to meet the needs of seniors, officials can bring in the experts at ASST. 

Listed below are just a few of the design solutions we offer our healthcare clients:

• Full package Division 6 casework (available in a variety of materials)
• OR paneling
• Trespa™ wall panels
• Toilet partitions
• SCULPTCOR®   wall panel system (with hard seam joints)
• Modular Vanity™ System
• MatchLine™ Stainless Sinks
• Cradle™ Baby Bowl


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