“Ageless Design”

aging in place

“The role of the designer is that of a good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.”

~ Charles Eames

I know the intentions are good, but whenever I read “ageless design” (or ageless anything, for that matter) I cringe. George Bernard Shaw was fond of saying:  “Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones. All men mean well.” And that’s the tough part, they mean well but “Ageless Design” is dog-whistling ageism. The underlying message is designing with age in mind at the longevity end is somehow not acceptable, so conjure up a term around it by labeling it as something less offensive, less real, less authentic. The last time I checked, we’re all aging, regardless of age–Unless I’m missing something?

Universal Design is a term and philosophy of design that works for everyone. Here is a term that’s not trying to deny anything–It works for everyone, regardless of age (which means the term is inclusive). It’s beyond semantics, language matters. Don’t get me wrong, I wish to steer clear of “Gerontological Correctness” (thanks HR Moody), but we are “aged” by the language of culture. And when I say “aged” I mean discriminated against.  Language and terms matter, they influence thinking, which influences culture which influences policy and eventually real lives.

Aging is not a sin…
See
I Wrote the Book on User-Friendly Design. What I See Today Horrifiles Me. 
What is Universal Design?

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