Therapeutic Strategies in Architecture for Senior Care and Rehabilitation

Parks, Francis
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2016]
My research is in developing a new building typology for the elderly retirement population. Retirement funds are often eaten up by poor planning and hasty decisions which can jeopardize their health. Hawaii has a large elderly population and I see a great need to address this problem now, as the largest demographic group is now retiring. Hypothesis: Retirement hangs as the preverbal carrot for most people in our rapidly paced society. The reward for life of hard work too often becomes a sedentary activity that encourages the degeneration of our physical body. Architecture for retirees often facilitates this and designs for a lethargic lifestyle. The consistent pattern for elderly is a ‘fall’, which then leads to a back-and-forth to the hospital. Most of the time, the fall occurs within a ‘designed’ space. The research goal is to develop design strategies, design components, and awareness of the problems. Just as ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) is the product of awareness and energy to a neglected demographic, the elderly should have strong design influences. The desired outcome for the project is to prepare for a design that addresses the needs for this elderly age group . Gaining an understanding of the demographic, the needs, hazards, and opportunities will prepare me for the design process. Specific solutions ranging from therapeutic spaces to technical solutions for improved mobility and independence will be investigated. In urban or suburban places, our mobility is based on options presented to us. These are intentional designs and understanding how ‘designed circulation’ develops certain muscles while others are lost, helps me design spaces that become therapeutic and incorporate the muscles that are lost. Case studies will be investigated to gain parameters on cost, and design solutions. Emerging theories in senior health care incorporate more activity throughout the day compared to a periodic ‘exercise’ time. Architecture can facilitate this approach of a steady flow of stimulus and activity.
D.Arch. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
therapeutic senior care, assisted living, health monitoring
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