Designing for relationships: housing and communities that improve the quality of life of the high-needs elderly

  • YEAR
    Kuboshima, Yukiko
    McIntosh, Jacqueline
    Thomas, Dr. Geoff
    2018 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science: Architecture, Design and Environment
    Conference Papers


Globally population profiles are ageing and the proportion of elderly people with high-care needs is projected to increase at an even higher rate. Subsequently, there is an increasing demand for housing that can support independence and provide a high Quality of Life (QoL). Relationships are one of the significant contributors to QoL for the high-needs elderly. However, a loss of social connection and isolation is a growing social concern in the ageing-society. Housing design can have a significant influence on occupant relationships. Through a qualitative investigation of the experiences and spatial use of 30 high-needs elderly people, the research finds themes for relationships, which included; living with a spouse, having guests in the home, relationships with other residents and staff, and connections with the wider community and nature. In the design of dwellings, there should be attention to flexibility for providing sufficient space for social activities, and design for views and sound to provide control-of and connection-to visitors/neighbours and nature. Walkability and appropriate deployment of communal space should be sought in the design of the complex. These considerations contribute to comfortable and meaningful relationships for the high-needs elderly, thereby enhancing their QoL.


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