Enhancing Social Interaction for the Residents of Assisted Living Facilities by Optimizing the Physical Environment: A Participant-Generated Image-Based Approach
Background: Previous studies have examined the benefits of increased social interaction on improved quality of life and overall wellbeing among community-dwelling older adults. However, few studies explored effective environmental factors that could affect social interaction. Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify environmental factors that facilitate or hinder social interaction by elderly residents from their perspective. Methods: To record feedback from older adults that dwelling in the assisted living facility within a continuing care retirement community, this exploratory study deployed a participant-generated image method, which includes a photovoice and a photo-elicitation interview. Photos were sorted based on subjects, and interview responses were analyzed using content analysis of qualitative inquiry. Results: A total of 11 older adults completed this study by recording 254 photos and participating in the follow-up interviews. Among 149 analyzed photos with complete descriptions, participants identified key environmental and non-environmental factors as impactful on social interaction. Five main domains identified are physical space accessibility, locations, and layouts, home-like and comfortable ambiance, presence of mediums for interaction, privacy and security, and variation in everyday life. Conclusion: The findings inform the future design of aging communities to be socialization friendly for community-dwelling older adults with the intention to enhance their quality of life and overall wellbeing.
Aging; Health care management; Design; Assisted Living; Design Guidelines; Environmental Design; Participant-Generated Image Methods; Social Interaction
Sagha Zadeh, Rana
Ong, Anthony D.
Design and Environmental Analysis
M.A., Design and Environmental Analysis
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis