Aging-in-Place: Residents' Attitudes and Floor Plan Potential in Apartment Buildings From 1990 to 2015

HERD. 2021 Oct;14(4):211-226. doi: 10.1177/19375867211016342. Epub 2021 May 12.


Objectives: We investigated apartment designs in apartment blocks built 1990-2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden. We investigated the residents' attitudes toward their previous, present, and future housing and their perceived possibilities for aging-in-place. We analyzed their apartments, focusing on the possibilities for aging-in-place in future care situations concerning bedroom capacity in a care situation; spatial proximity between bathroom, bedroom, storage, and entrance; and functional autonomy in a care situation without too much disturbance for a partner.

Background: Since the 2000s, the ambition in Sweden is to enable older people to remain in ordinary housing. The possibilities for aging-in-place should therefore be considered already in the design stage, also when producing standard apartments.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were made with 30 households, with one or more resident 65 years or older. Floor plan analyses were made of their present apartments.

Results: The majority displayed a pragmatic attitude toward aging, high satisfaction with their present housing situation, and good chances for aging-in-place in future homecare scenarios. The floor plan analysis shows that the three concepts of bedroom capacity, spatial proximity, and functional autonomy can be used to determine the potential for aging-in-place.

Conclusions: The results suggest that architectural qualities related to aging-in-place are not automatically connected to floor size or number of rooms. Small apartments can perform better than larger ones, depending on spatio-functional organization and connections between different functions. The residents' perceived chances for aging-in-place confirm this relation. Future studies should compare different locations, production periods, and relations between size, space efficiency, and accessibility.

Keywords: aging-in-place; bedroom capacity; floor plan analysis; functional autonomy; homecare; interviews; residential architecture; spatial proximity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Attitude*
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Sweden