Understanding the Spatial Requirements that Facilitate Personal Leisure Activities of the High-Needs Elderly

Yukiko Kuboshima (School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington)
Jacqueline McIntosh (School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington)

Article ID: 2256

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30564/jgm.v2i1.2256


The growth of the ageing population and the desires for ageing-in-place have resulted in an ever-increasing need for housing that can support the independent living of the elderly with care needs. As impairments and care needs increase, spatial use typically changes. However, there is limited information on how to accommodate leisure activities and spatial use in private dwellings to inform housing design. Through an ethnographic investigation of 30 high-needs elderly people living independently, patterns of spatial use for personal leisure activities were established. Seven key themes for residents’ perceptions were revealed, which include; comfort in posture, access to sunshine and warmth, facilitating activities to occupy residents, views to outside, control for doing everything from one space, and keeping active. In the design of housing for the high-needs elderly, greater attention should be given to the micro-environment of the main sitting space, to improve occupant control while enhancing comfort and warmth. This paper provides key considerations for housing design, which will help elderly people continue their fulfilled life in their own home as long as possible.  


Housing design; Older people; Care needs; Private Space; Spatial usage; Quality of life; Ethnography

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