There are 76.4 million baby boomers, roughly one-quarter of the estimated U.S. population of 320 million, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The aging of the population will affect every interior environment—private, commercial, and public.
With that in mind, 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 it was founded by the ICC in 1980, 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.
To access resources an articles on this topic, visit ICC’s Building Design Solutions for All Ages web page.