Now and for old age: ageing at home

September 22Ergonomics
Ein älterer Mann serviert Rührei aus der Pfanne während sie auf dem Laptop lächelnd etwas anschaut
Growing old in your own four walls – an understandable desire for one's best years. Today's generation of "active adults", with their energy, stringent demands for quality and comfort and outstanding affinity for technology, are best placed for this. There are numerous ways in which they can be supported.
Ein älterer Mann in hellbraunem Strickcardigan, weißem Shirt und Jeans mit großen Kopfhörern und einem Laptop auf dem Schoß

Whereas in the past, several generations of large families would live together under one roof, people nowadays tend to grow old in two-person or single households. Most people want to retain this independence and continue to live in their own home – which is known as "ageing at home". 

Putting down roots with a long-term plan 

Having roots is important for body and soul. Ageing at home means staying in a familiar environment and continuing to belong to the community and social network. Depending on physical fitness, it might be necessary to make some changes to make everyday life easier – for example, in the kitchen or bathroom. With a bit of understanding, acceptance and advance planning, the transition will be easy. However, "Most people don't realise that their current homes don't meet the requirements of independent living in old age until it's too late," says Lothar Marx, architect of housing and social real estate. Accessibility in building construction with disabled and elderly people in mind is a specialist field for Marx, an honorary professor at the Technical University of Munich. 

Functionality must be the main priority. You can change the design if required. But it's difficult to replace missing functionality later on.Lothar Marx, Architect and Honorary Professor at the Technical University of Munich

Design for all

The "Design for all" trend has made a positive impact on housing construction and is reflected, for example, in innovative kitchen ideas or sophisticated cabinet solutions. But it does, of course, have its limits. "It's presumptuous to think that we can build a home that fits everyone. We're all individuals. What's more, we all change throughout our lives – and so do our needs. So one home can't fully meet the needs of everyone at all times," explains Lothar Marx. Fortunately, there are some aids that can be helpful at all ages. 

Living in old age: what do people invest in?

  • 72% intend to invest in their own homes

  • 51% implement accessibility measures

  • 30% modernise their existing homes

  • 19% invest in burglary protection

Nice and smart

Many senior citizens today are familiar with computers, smartphones and tablets and are open to technological advancements. So it's not surprising that the concept of smart homes is particularly suited to ageing at home. Mobility furniture and electronic devices that enhance quality of living in all stages of life are generally very popular. This could include everything from riser recliner chairs, adjustable beds and opening support systems for doors, to wall cabinets and pull-outs in the wardrobe or kitchen – for example SERVO-DRIVE. These assistance devices might merely be a smart feature for young people but they are greatly appreciated in old age. 

What does the future hold?

Due to their longer life experience, more and more people are likely to opt for ageing at home so that they can continue to live in their familiar environment. Thanks to technical advancements, intelligent assistance systems and a change in social attitude, this model is becoming ever more attractive and easier to implement.

Zwei Frauen und ein Mann kochen und unterhalten sich gemeinsam

At a glance: ageing at home

  • Having roots is important for body and soul

  • Thinking about accessibility at a young age

  • Function over design

  • Smart home solutions are cool at a young age, but practical in old age

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