Design for Aging

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the elderly population will more than double between now and the year 2050, to 80 million. That means roughly one out of five adults in the

U.S. will be over the age of 65. 

One of the biggest challenges in the next 30 years will be how to meet the demand for quality living environments for the burgeoning population of older adults.  This will require modifications to much of the existing housing stock, as well as making changes in new construction today that will accommodate older residents’ needs in the future.

But aging in place is not just about the home.  The aging of the population will affect every interior environment—private, commercial and public.  For example,

  • Hospitality – restaurants, hotels and motels will need to be accessible

  • Workplace – offices, retail stores and other work spaces will need to provide adequate lighting, seating, technology, task areas and quiet places for older workers

  • Healthcare – increased need for outpatient and in-home care, accommodation for caretakers and caregivers

  • Retail – stores will need to be accessible and accommodate individuals using assistive devices

  • Multihousing/multiuse – growing demand for livable communities and urban complexes with easy access to health care, entertainment, shopping, etc.

Interior designers are uniquely qualified to create supportive, livable environments for older persons that are functional, healthy and safe. If you are interested in serving this population, you need to know about the needs and wants of this growing market.  Below you will find information and links to additional resources to help you get started.

ASID Design for Aging Council
The mission of the ASID Design for Aging Council is to address how interior designers can meet the needs and wishes of older persons—today and in the future—and of the entities and providers who support them.  Recognizing the changing dynamic of an aging population, the Council is looking ahead to how the “age wave” will affect interior design practice across all areas of practice and specialty, with particular attention to issues that span generations and life stage, such as accessibility, visitability and Universal Design.

Council activities include:

       Identifying and developing information to educate interior designers about the needs and wishes of older persons and how to work effectively with other professionals who provide them care and services.

       Informing the public and the media about the ways interior designers can help meet the needs of an aging population and improve quality of life.

       Gathering case studies that demonstrate the many facets of “aging” environments, from senior living and care facilities to private residences (“aging in place”) to retail, hospitality and public buildings. 

       Establishing relationships with organizations in the design, building and health care industries that use the services of interior designers to share information and foster professional collaboration. 

       Reaching out to groups that serve the older population and/or are being affected by the aging of the population.

       Assessing current and future opportunities for interior designers linked to trends in the field of aging and how the aging of the population will impact society, politics and the economy.


For information about current Council members, click here.


Design for Active Aging
Click here to access articles by members of the ASID Aging in Place Council on aging design issues, marketing strategies and resources.

Design for Aging in Place Toolkit
Thinking about expanding your practice to attract the fastest growing market in design today?  The Design for Aging in Place Toolkit has the information, resources and marketing tips you need to get started. For more information and to download your copy, click here.  Exclusive and FREE to ASID members. (PDF)

Home for a Lifetime: Interior Design for Active Aging
In some studies, as many as 8 in 10 homeowners age 45 and over say they would like to stay in their homes as long as possible, even if at some point they would need help caring for themselves in order to do so. An AARP study found that the desire to continue to live in the same house actually increases with age. Download this report to discover recommendations on how to design today to anticipate future lifestages. (PDF)

When a House Is Not a Home
The ASID Los Angeles Chapter and Torrance Kiwanis Foundation, working with the Design That Works consultancy, created a barrier-free environment for a retiree and stroke victim that will allow him to remain in his home.  For details and sources, read on.

AIA Design for Aging Knowledge Community
The mission of the AIA Design for Aging Knowledge Community (DFA) is to foster design innovation and disseminate knowledge necessary to enhance the built environment and quality of life for an aging society. This includes relevant research on characteristics, planning, and costs associated with innovative design for aging. In addition, DFA provides outcome data on the value of these design solutions and environments.

Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist Program from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
The NAHB RemodelorsTM Council, in collaboration with the AARP, NAHB Research Center, and NAHB Seniors Housing Council, developed this program to provide comprehensive, practical, market-specific information about working with older and maturing adults to remodel their homes for aging-in-place. Interior designers are invited to become CAPS certified. For more information about the program and schedules, go to and look under EDUCATION, Designations for CAPS.