Enhancing awareness in interior design education: A life-centred approach to designing for ageing-in-place



Interior & Furniture Design


  • ageing, ageing-in-place, home modification, housing, well-being


By 2025, the number of older persons globally will surpass the number of young individuals (World Health Organization 2022). Research consistently highlights the preference for ageing in a familiar home environment, enabling the elderly to remain in their homes and avoid institutionalisation. In order to facilitate this, homes need to be adapted to cater to the changing physical and emotional needs of the elderly. Design professionals responsible for these adaptations are typically trained to address the functional requirements of the built environment. However, they may overlook the importance of a life-centred approach, which prioritises the long-term well-being of the users. This research aims to emphasise the interconnections between individuals and their environment, extending beyond the boundaries of the home.

A scoping review was conducted using a method that encompassed both conceptual and empirical literature on ageing-in-place (Pham et al. 2014). The keywords employed included ageing, housing, ageing-in-place, well-being, architecture, and home modification. The review primarily focused on peer-reviewed papers published between 2012 and 2022, with select seminal works beyond this time frame. In order to ensure interdisciplinary insights, literature from various academic disciplines was sourced.

The research delved into six themes to broaden the life-centred design approach for design educators and professionals. These themes encompassed: 1) physical well-being, 2) psychological well-being, 3) social engagement, 4) spatial/built structure, 5. the broader context of the neighbourhood, and the integration of 5) home technologies and AI. By considering these themes, new pathways for design professionals can be formulated, extending beyond the conventional approach of solely addressing compliance with disability or modification standards.

The proposed life-centred approach aims to sensitise design educators and students to the needs of future ageing populations. It offers design professionals a multidisciplinary body of knowledge that accommodates a holistic view of the challenges encountered during the process of 'ageing-in-place’. This work provides valuable insights for design students, architects, interior designers, and researchers. Furthermore, it identifies knowledge gaps that can be explored further, with the intention of impacting a broad range of stakeholders.


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