Key facilitators and barriers to quality of life in residential aged care : the role of design

Miller, Evonne, Donoghue, Geraldine, & Buys, Laurie (2014) Key facilitators and barriers to quality of life in residential aged care : the role of design. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 7(1), pp. 397-412.

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Australia is undergoing a critical demographic transition: the population is ageing. By 2050, one in four Australians will be older than 65 years and by 2031, the number of older Australians requiring residential aged care will increase 63%, to 1.4 million (ABS, 2005). In anticipation of this global demographic transition, the World Health Organisation has advocated ‘active ageing’, identifying health, participation and security as the three key factors that enhance quality of life for people as they age (WHO, 2002). While there is considerable discussion and acceptance of active ageing principles, little is known about the experience of ‘active ageing’ for older Australians who live in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF). This research addresses this knowledge gap by exploring the key facilitators and barriers to quality of life and active ageing in aged care from the perspective of aged care residents (n=12). To do this, the project documented the initial expectations and daily life experience of new residents living in a RACF over a one-year period. Combined with in-depth interviews and surveys, the project utilised Photovoice methodology - where participants used photography to record their lived experiences. The initial findings suggest satisfaction with living in aged care centers around five key themes; resident’s mental attitude to living in aged care, forming positive peer and staff relationships, self-determination and maintaining independence, opportunities to participate in interesting activities, and living in a safe and comfortable physical environment. This paper reports on the last of these five key themes, focusing on the role of design in facilitating quality of life, specifically: “living within these walls” – safety, comfort and the physical environment.

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ID Code: 73150
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Productive ageing, Photovoice, Residential aged care, Ageing population, Quality of life, Design
ISSN: 1944-6934
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > OTHER BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (129900)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 by
Deposited On: 30 Jun 2014 22:39
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2014 00:31

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