The history of designing housing for the elderly is closely related to political, economic and sociological processes. Depending on financing and changes in legislation, housing for the elderly has been provided by institutions, private bodies or pensioners themselves. As Western Europe has become more prosperous, average life expectancy has increased and the percentage of pensioners in society is growing. Our ageing population forces us to think about housing for the elderly on a range of levels, from planology, urban planning and landscape design to interior design.
During the course of the twentieth century, old age became the subject of study of a range of disciplines, including geriatrics, psychology, sociology and anthropology. We now know much more, for example, about the influence of interior and exterior spaces on pensioners’ wellbeing. How can future developments such as robotics and automation play a role in housing for the elderly and how do they relate to a human living environment? The increasing involvement of various disciplines in housing for the elderly over the years has been part of a lengthy process of the cultural integration of old age in society. Various different attempts have been made to combine care with the maintenance of vitality, social integration and personal lifestyles.