Design for the Frail Old: Environmental and Perceptual Influences on Corridor Walking Behaviors of Assisted Living Residents
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Regular walking has several physical and psychological benefits for frail older people. However, many residents in long-term care facilities are too sedentary to achieve these benefits. Indoor walking appears to be a feasible way to promote active living among these residents and yet, there is little research that has been done in this regard. The researcher conducted two studies in Central Texas to explore how corridor design features influenced indoor walking behaviors among assisted living residents. In the first study, the researcher carried out six focus groups with 50 assisted living residents, discussing how they perceived the indoor corridor as "walkable." Residents reported that a walkable corridor should be safe, comfortable, and having beautiful/interesting things to see. In the second study, the researcher further examined the relationship between the built environment and walking behaviors among 326 residents from 18 facilities in a major city of Texas. The results indicated that 'perceived looped corridor' and 'number of stories' were significantly associated with residents' frequencies of indoor recreational walking. In addition, the availability and quality of sitting space around mailbox areas influenced the number of "walking to mailbox" trips. This research provides empirical evidence to develop activity-friendly facility design guidelines, and to create environmental interventions to facilitate active lifestyles among long-term care residents.
long term care
Lu, Zhipeng (2009). Design for the Frail Old: Environmental and Perceptual Influences on Corridor Walking Behaviors of Assisted Living Residents. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from