The elderly and beyond: the need for adaptable housing

Inclusive interior architecture for aging societies

In the United Kingdom, 51% of people over 75 years old live alone and lack any type of assistance in carrying out their daily tasks. The trend is similar across Europe.

It is estimated that the number of people over 60 years old will increase by more than 22% between now and 2050; by that date, 10% of the Western population will be over 80 years old,at which point dependent expenditures would represent up to 3.6% of the GDP. Life expectancy isn’t slowing down, and this isn’t just related to the elderly, but also the very elderly, two stages of life with housing needs that differ greatly from those of younger age groups.

We tend to modify our living situations as our life and family situations change.

The people we refer to as “seniors,” in other words, those over 60 years old, prioritize housing with different features than those sought out by young couples with children. Their life needs have changed and they are aware that they will have other needs in the near future, as a result of inevitable aging.

A type of interior architecture that anticipates the needs of an aging population should, of course, include a number of basic considerations in its framework.


Facilité de reconfiguration des pièces : un logement toujours adaptable

Designing interiors with light partitions and mobile wood or glass partition walls, which shape and lend flexibility to rooms based on fluctuating needs, can keep people from having to move to a new home as they progress along life’s course. Having access to the entire space on a daily basis, while also having the option to rearrange it, without any construction work, to create new rooms when children come to visit or, in the future, to create space for a caregiver, is a huge advantage. Sliding KLEIN systems offer users the flexibility to repurpose spaces with a single movement, depending on their needs at that moment, without having to do any major renovations. Because, remember: users are not the ones who should have to adapt to their homes, but rather, homes should adapt to their users.

More than doors: custom passageways with zero barriers and without losing any space.

Wide, open connections facilitate movement. Simple, bi-parting, or even telescopic sliding doors allow for the customization of passageways, so users can enjoy a space wide enough for them to move around comfortably, whether that’s with a cane, crutches, or a wheelchair. KLEIN systems come without any floor tracks, and a lack of architectural barriers minimizes the risk of tripping. They also feature another huge advantage, which is that no extra space is required to open the door, thus increasing the square footage available.

Natural light: the more, the better.

Combining natural light and soft artificial light supports vision and increases comfort. The installation of glass doors and architectural walls facilitates the distribution of natural light, even in the inner spaces of the home.

**Tip: **Join wood and glass in a single partition by using frame applications. You will achieve greater visual and tactile comfort while increasing user well-being.

Easy opening and closing of doors

The effort required to open KLEIN sliding systems is always less than 1% of the total weight of the doors. That means that, if a door weighs 100 lbs., the effort required to slide it will be 1 lb. at most, a very manageable amount of effort, even for a senior user or someone with limited mobility. Also, the Klein Soft Closing System that comes included with these applications guarantees smooth, controlled stopping, thus preventing any banging or bounce back.

The bathroom: prioritizing accessibility

More than 50% of seniors have some kind of urinary incontinence, so facilitating access to the bathroom is absolutely crucial. When it comes to vulnerable users, the details become particularly important. Do you know why it’s important to consider the material used for the door handle? Well, in the case of steel handles, the contrast between room temperature and cold metal can provoke incontinence. To solve this problem, wooden handles such as those found in our NATURE line are perfect for adapting to users’ body temperature, avoiding any contrast when coming into contact with skin.

Case studies

Interior large format carpentry

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