‘Care’ is a broad term and it has multiple/various/divrese meanings associated with it. In the specific context of Elderly, it is best understood as protecting the rights of the elderly and addressing to their physical, social and psychological needs. This dissertation report focusses on the care for Elderly that can be boosted with the help of meaningful Architecture. It identifies and analysis how Architecture can be used as a platform to enhance care for the elderly. This study not only provides solution to the understudied pragmatic issues, such as accessibility, environmental adaption, convenience, safety and security but also seeks to address the social and behavioral issues of the elderly.
The built and natural environments have the ability to influence the elderly, with positive or negative outcomes. Thus architectural elements and design factors are focused upon to design a best fit composition in order to achieve an effective environment that completely addresses the needs of the elderly and simultaneously that of a wider public. The end result is the design of development that boosts care for the Elderly. However, such a development may only prove to be useful to such a cause when the architecture it presents is meaningful to its occupants.
This dissertation illuminates the theories related to Ageing, Social integration and Meaningful Architecture. It explores various aspects of ageing. It unpacks the physical, social and psychological impact of ageing. It introduces the issues and needs related to the Elderly and apprises architectural approach required to promote care for the Elderly.
Ageing is a process that presents itself in every individual of the global population. It is a continuous pattern and is related to specific nature of an individual organism. With the growing age there comes notable changes in the physical and mental characteristics of a person. These changes are of varying degrees and are dependent on mixture of factors. Due to these changes the aged have to adjust their lifestyles and sometimes also the location where they reside. This unexpected adjustments at this stage of life can be quite disturbing and also result in dismay in the aged.
There is no general agreement of age at which an individual becomes old and each individual ages differently as a result of their physical and mental health. For the purpose of the study ‘Elderly’ are considered as people above an age of sixty who require some form of care but are free from serious health disorders that requires constant care and medications.
Just as the social care is an important ingredient in the life of an elderly so is the environment they inhabit in. As much as genes are responsible for the physical and mental health of a person so is the interaction between an individual and surrounding environment in shaping the human beings and society as whole. There is not only a need for additional care for the elderly but jointly environments that offer superior quality of care and address the combined psychological, social and physical needs of the occupants.
As an individual we do not have the power to change the genes we have inherited but as an Architect we have the ability to create environments in which they function. This ability to change the environment provides us the opportunity to create environments that are meaningful to its occupants.
The intent of my dissertation is to bring out the real importance of the living environment in leading an independent life and active ageing of the elderly. Through this research I want to prove that even in the last of the life one can be happy, independent, and active and can also maintain social networks (ageing gracefully).
Aim: The fundamental aim of my research is to examine ageing and its relationship with living environment and establish a set of architectural principles that are developed through understanding the issues related to care of the Elderly.
This study does not propose that architecture can reverse the cycle of ageing but rather that it can have a positive impact on the lives of the elderly when configured successfully.
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