The American Society of Interior Designers has created a report called Home for a Lifetime: Interior Design for Active Aging. It notes:
As longevity increases, so will the likelihood of chronic health conditions and the need for regular assistance. Studies show that elderly Americans are reducing their use of nursing home care, in part because they prefer home delivered care or assisted living. They will need a suitable and accessible place to live, whether they remain in their own homes or live with a family member.
The report provides a comprehensive set of considerations for designing spaces that promote aging in place. Apparently, a lot of it has to do with what you raise and what you lower. Things to be raised include toilet seats and lighting levels; things to be lowered include beds and light switches.
Aging Better Together is the theme of a conference organized by the Cohousing Association of the United States, May 20-21 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It promises that participants will “learn how to transform an existing community into a senior-friendly superstar or how to design a new community for the lifespan of all who will live there. The conference provides over 30 breakout sessions and three featured keynote presentations to guide you in this journey. Experts in cohousing, successful aging, and community founders will share their knowledge and experiences on everything from how to start a new community to end of life care in an existing one.”
This blows my mind: the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and a number of other groups collaborated to launch a study of cohousing in 1993!
The report, “Planning Cohousing,” was eventually published in 1997.
Despite being 20 years old, it continues to have some good advice, including this:
Cohousing may offer a desirable addition to neighbourhoods, but this may not be readily apparent to everyone. Cohousing groups can only benefit from applying the principle of collaboration to their external dealings with municipal planners, neighbours and city councillors.
Anecdotally, I hear that zoning by-laws often continue to put (probably unintended) barriers before co-housing developments. No doubt early consultation can overcome many of them.