Builders are creating new product to respond to the growing population of aging home buyers nationally. This product has to consider universal design so the buyers can gracefully age in place, along with new technologies that put them in touch with constant care.

This study shows that these home buyers will need and want much more attention on housing that offers them the ability to stay at home until they die.

IN 2016 The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation, an American non-profit focused on health care, polled people in America, Brazil, Italy and Japan about their hopes and worries for their end-of-life wishes.

We found that what is most important to people at the end depends on where they live. In America and Japan not burdening families with the costs of care was the highest-ranked priority. (The Japanese may be worrying about the cost of funerals, which can easily reach ¥3m, or $24,000; Americans may be worrying about medical bills, which can be ruinous.) In Brazil, where Catholicism prevails, the leading priority was being at peace spiritually. What Italians wanted most at the end was to have their loved ones around them. Doctors’ efforts to extend life near its end may not always be aligned with their patients' priorities: living as long as possible was deemed least important of the seven things that we asked about, except in Brazil where it tied with not burdening relatives financially.

The majority of people in each country had given “some” or “a great deal” of thought to their wishes for medical treatment in case of serious illness. But having spoken with their families about the subject was much less common, and putting wishes down in writing even rarer. Americans were most likely to have planned ahead: 56% had spoken with a loved one about the medical treatment they want if they were to become seriously ill; 27% had put their wishes in a written document. The Japanese were the most likely to have avoided the subject, even though Japan has the world’s oldest population. Less than a third had told their families about their wishes in case of serious illness and only 6% had put those wishes in writing.

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