How Design Influences Older Adults’ Outdoor Space Usage and Satisfaction: A Case Study of Outdoor Environments in Chinese Facilities for the Elderly
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Along with the rapidly increasing Chinese elderly population, the demand for sound practices that improve elderly people’s health and well-being in Chinese long-term care facilities grows synchronously. Spending time in outdoor spaces positively influences senior adults’ physical and psychological health. The design of outdoor spaces in senior living facilities has an important impact on elderly people’s use of outdoor spaces and their satisfaction. It is suggested that physical environment should support users’ needs from five domains, including accessing to nature, outdoor comfort and safety, walking and outdoor activities, indoor-outdoor connection, and connection to the world. Although many published research supported this theory, most of these studies were conducted in long-term care facilities in western countries. More specifically, there is limited research written in English that examines whether this theory is applicable in a different cultural context, such as China. This study examined whether environmental features in these five domains influence senior adults’ outdoor space usage and their satisfaction in a Chinese context. An exploratory case study was conducted in two Chinese long-term care facilities, Huishan Elderly Home (HEH), and Nanshan Charity Home (NCH). Both facilities located in Wuxi, China, and have more than 300 residents. Three outdoor spaces in each facility were studied. A triangulation approach was applied to collect data, which is composed of both qualitative and quantitative methods. Data collection methods included environmental audit, behavior mapping, focus group, and survey. The research findings contributed in three aspects. First, it uses qualitative methods (focused group and open-ended questions in the questionnaire) to show Chinese cultural preferences for outdoor features in Chinese long-term care facilities. Second, it uses qualitative methods (focus groups and open-ended questions in the questionnaire) to modify the Seniors’ Outdoor Survey (SOS tool) for Chinese long-term care facilities. Third, it finds a descriptive correlation between SOS findings and resident satisfaction.
Lu, Yiwei (2018). How Design Influences Older Adults’ Outdoor Space Usage and Satisfaction: A Case Study of Outdoor Environments in Chinese Facilities for the Elderly. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from