According to a recent report from the Urban Land Institute, 3.5 million people turned 65 this year, compared with just 2.2 million in 2006. By 2025, ULI predicts, 18 million more people will be 65 or older than in 2015, a 38% jump.

And as the population ages, so too does the country’s housing stock, much of which was built before the thought of its suitability for elderly people became popular.

To address the needs of elderly residents and provide a blueprint to apartment owners, developers, and managers, Enterprise Community Partners released two reports in September: Aging in Place Design Guidelines for Independent Living in Multifamily Buildings and the New York–focused Addressing the Needs of Aging Tenants in Your Building.

Both reports offer best practices on creating a living environment where residents can live independently and age with dignity.

When the Enterprise team was putting together a report on green communities in 2014, many stakeholders who focus on seniors housing issues were contacted. The issues those stakeholders brought up triggered an idea from Enterprise to offer guidelines to developers and owners for building high-quality housing for people as they age.

“Stakeholders that are owners of building properties are now looking at their portfolio and realizing that while they did not initially plan to build senior housing, because they’ve done a good job retaining their tenants over time, they’re now faced with increasingly higher average ages of their residents,” says Krista Egger, senior program director, green initiatives.

If an owner plans to renovate his or her property, the team at Enterprise says, it’s best to consider what the needs of their residents will be in 10 or 15 years.

The reports offer general building guidelines, room-by-room considerations, and most things in between. For example, since costs quickly add up on new-construction projects, Enterprise devised a prioritization tool to help with the decision-making process.

Aging in Place provides simple, low-cost projects that an apartment operator can undertake to improve the quality of life for his or her elderly residents. These include changing the paint color on each floor so residents have another way of knowing which floor is theirs, or installing clear cabinets during a renovation so added time isn’t wasted looking for food or medicine.

There are more expensive suggestions, as well, such as installing larger windows that are easy to open, among other design and layout recommendations.

“Building owners and property managers play an important role in shaping the daily lives of seniors and need to be able to recognize and respond to the needs of this growing population,” says Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader at Enterprise. “These new guides provide owners and managers with critical information and tools that will enable residents to age safely in their communities.”

So far, Enterprise has hosted three workshops about its new guidelines and is now working with stakeholders to implement new features to help aging residents.