EFA at a close: Designers have much to accomplish for our aging population

Inspired. Challenged. Conflicted. Convinced. These are just a few of the emotions I have been experiencing here at Environments for Aging this week.

Inspired to look at our environments differently and to respond differently.

Challenged to not give up when I encounter resistance to change. (As a pilot, I know that the resistance of the wind provides both lift and drag—the lift forces just need to be greater than the drag forces to effectively take off!)

Conflicted that I am not as good as I think I am in designing life-giving environments. (I/we have not arrived because the destination is always moving … hopefully, moving toward what is right for people.)

Convinced that I am not alone in this journey. (Collaboration and unselfish teamwork are key ingredients in the hope that I have experienced here at EFA.)

I would like to thank Dodd Kattman and Zachary Benedict, both of Morrison Kattman Menze, for providing an inspirational and thought-provoking keynote at the closing luncheon. Through their final call to excellence, my vocabulary was once again stretched with new, change-evoking terms such as “intergenerational communities,” “successful aging,” “naturally occurring retirement communities,” “walkable communities,” and “elder-centric.”

We in this profession have a huge challenge—or opportunity—to proactively meet the needs of today and tomorrow’s aging population of amazing people. Following this conference, will we just step back into our realities without making changes, or will we bring back with us the residual of inspiration and change that was imparted here in Atlanta?

It is my hope that the people connections that were birthed and rekindled will continue to evolve even at long distances. I am confident that technology will be extremely valuable as we bridge time zones to nurture these wonderful, professional relationships in pursuit of environments for aging that evoke a sense of place and connection.

But for right now, at this very moment, it’s time to enjoy spring in Georgia!

Topics: Design