“Building Design Solutions for All Ages” Is the Theme for Building Safety Month Week Two
As Baby Boomers prepare to retire—will the built environment be ready for them?
Data from the United States Census Bureau show there are 76.4 million baby boomers, roughly one-quarter of the estimated U.S. population of 320 million.
Many baby boomers are nearing or entering their retirement years and are deciding where they will live when they retire. According to an AARP study, 89 percent of the 50-and-older population like their current homes and intend to remain in them for as long as possible.
But aging in place is not just about the home. The aging of the population will affect every interior environment—private, commercial and public.
“Building Design Solutions for All Ages” is the theme for the International Code Council’s (ICC) second week of Building Safety Month – May 8-14, 2017.
Since 1980 and founded by the ICC, Building Safety Month has been an annual public safety awareness campaign to help individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures.
“While many of us don’t like some aspects of growing old, sooner or later we give in to wearing glasses and maybe even hearing aids,” said ICC Board President Dwayne Garriss, Georgia State Fire Marshal.
“Maybe we can’t run up those steps anymore and need ramps. Or we need better lighting and acoustics in restaurants or other businesses. The building community can help businesses adjust to an aging clientele, so we all can continue to enjoy the same things we always did.”
Issues on which the building industry will need to focus to accommodate an aging-in-place clientele include:
- Making sure restaurants, stores, hotels and motels are accessible and can accommodate individuals using assistive devices;
- Providing adequate lighting, seating, technology, task areas and quiet places for older workers in offices, retail stores and other work spaces;
- Meeting an increased need for outpatient and in-home care, accommodation for caretakers and caregivers; and
- Satisfying a growing demand for livable communities and urban complexes with easy access to health care, entertainment, shopping, etc.
Architects, custom home builders and remodelers are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of aging-in-place clients, provided they fully understand the design solutions and products that make living in a home easier.
As prospective retirees are planning for their futures, so, too, we must plan to help make sure their golden years shine.