The conclusion that younger people look for different design elements in a home than older people is somewhat obvious. However, it is good to have a study that shows this. Surveying people in three age groups, researchers found some key elements that should help designers design across the lifespan.
Younger people have a different design focus because they rarely consider the impact of unexpected events, even ageing, on the functionality of the home. After all, accidents happen to other people, don’t they? And no-one aspires to growing old or developing an impairment or chronic and disabling condition.
The title of the publication is, “Requirements and opinions of three groups of people (aged under 35, between 35 and 50, and over 50 years) to create a living space suitable for different life situations.” The abstract below gives a good overview of the topic.
The role of this study was to determine which changes people think they need to make in their home in response to getting older. At an advanced age, the likelihood of different limitations, such as vision impairment, hearing impairment, or physical inability, are increased. At present, when faced with such limitations, tenants are often forced to leave their long-term living spaces, as these spaces cannot serve their “new” individual needs.
This transition from the privacy of their home to a new environment is often a painful change. They must leave a well-known environment, as their homes cannot be adapted to their new needs. The aim of this paper is to develop a comprehensive approach for the design of an exterior and interior space which can serve people through all stages of life, particularly in terms of mobility. This means that, even if an unexpected situation incurs changes in an individual’s movement abilities or physiological limitations not only by natural aging, but also according to accidents or disabilities their living space can be adapted to the given conditions.
The results of a survey conducted in Germany and Slovakia are presented. In the survey, respondents expressed their opinion on what they considered important in creating an adaptive environment, considering various life changes. The results of the survey are statistically processed and analyzed by the ANOVA method, a form of statistical hypothesis testing. The results are processed graphically and presented in tables, along with explanations.
The results could be of an interest to the architects and designers of such environments. Based on the results of the survey, studies of possible modifications of flats and houses are developed. These results are analyzed in terms of three age groups: people aged below 35, those aged 35–50, and those aged over 50. People under 35 are considered to be quite young, with different views on life and on the environment. Their priorities typically differ from those of people around 50. People aged 50 more; have been under medical treatment for a consistent amount of time. This group of people is still active; however, they experience different design requirements for their potential home.