Appropriating space in an assisted living residence: On architecture and elderly frail people's spatial use
2011 (English)In: Considering Research: Proceedings of the ARCC spring research conference 2011 / [ed] Architectural Research Centers Consortium, Southfield, MI: Lawrence Technological University , 2011, 1-19 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
An assisted living residence with identical layout for two non-special care units (NSCU) and twospecial care units (SCU), designated as an exemplary model, was used as a test bed for this study on elderlypeople’s spatial appropriation of communal space. Using qualitative research methods (interviews,participatory observations, TESS-NH), eighteen residents’ spatial usages were mapped. Thereafter, tenresidents with dominantly somatic diseases were interviewed as to their appreciation and use of thecommunal space. Using the same qualitative interviewing guide, three staff members were interviewed inrelation to eight persons with dementia. The collected data was analyzed by use of the Lynchean imageabilitypentad. Depending on the residents’ age-related problem and the specific conditions in situ, the elderlypersons’ spatial usages of the individual unit could be described graphically in a mental map. A place-makingprocess was the motivating force behind this spatial appropriation, conditioned by age-related problems. Atthe NSCUs, the elderly spurred this process themselves by developing a pattern consisting of movementstowards places open for activities, contact and social interaction. On the other hand, at the SCUs, thedementia diagnosis affected this pattern. At these units, the movements and the places depended upon theelderly person’s dependency on the staff for self-affirmation and calm. The overarching conclusion of thisstudy is that an appropriate architectural space for an assisted living residence reinforces the place-makingprocess, either the one of the elderly frail people, or the one staged by the staff. Besides generalrequirements of accessibility, functionality, and usability, this type of architecture needs to employ spatialelements that constitute a communal space that fosters an appropriative process based on the sensuousstimulation exploitable at a particular place. Thus, architecture acquires a supportive quality that nourishesthe perceived homeliness by the elderly people themselves, or as staged by the staff.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Southfield, MI: Lawrence Technological University , 2011. 1-19 p.
assisted living architecture, architectural design, age-related problems, appropriation, mental maps
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33444ISBN: 9781257321896OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-33444DiVA: diva2:415518
ARCC 2011 Detroit, USA
QC 201109302011-05-062011-05-062011-10-17Bibliographically approved