Aging and Architecture


Robert Kasirer

Robert Kasirer innovated two technologies: one for integrating health care management, and another for managing real estate developments. Having spent time in senior management with Golden State Health Centers nursing facilities and on the external advisory board of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute on Aging, Robert Kasirer went on to positions as a managing director with KFT Capital and a director of the JacobRose Family Foundation, which focuses on aging and architecture.

As the US aging population grows, the need for spaces that serve older adults is becoming more relevant. Traditional nursing homes were often built with the intention to house people briefly at the end of their lives, but with improvements in health care and technology, we are living longer than ever and many of us will want to continue to live active, social lives beyond retirement.

In many apartment buildings, for example, hallways are a direct line from the elevator to the apartment. Designing a wider space and including shared seating space may encourage neighbors to interact with each other more often when they are close to home. Nursing homes could also be integrated with other buildings, such as a school, to encourage interaction between the nursing home residents and the students. These sorts of architectural changes might help prevent isolation and depression in the growing aging population.


The International Conference on Aging and Architecture

Robert Kasirer has served as a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Aging External Advisory Board since 2005. In this position, Robert Kasirer has taken part in the New Aging: International Conference on Aging and Architecture.

Sponsored by the Jacob Rose Family Foundation, the New Aging: International Conference on Aging and Architecture attracted 300 architects, students, and other individuals to engage in discussions on trends in nursing-home architecture and new programs to help empower senior citizens who are living alone. Speakers at the symposium, which lasted two days, hailed from locales such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, representing professional positions as diverse as gerontologists and filmmakers. Among many topics discussed at the conference was the fact that within 15 years, 20 percent of the United States population will be comprised of individuals over the age of 64. Additional subjects included myths and methods for mitigating physical decline in old age and the benefits seniors enjoy from remaining in a family setting as opposed to even the finest quality nursing home.