• The Nursing Home as a Place for Remembering: Current Trends & Future Directions

    Anna Ruth Gatlin (see profile)
    Research, Learning and scholarship, Nursing homes, Interior decorators
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Design Communication Association International Biennial Conference
    Conf. Org.:
    Design Communication Association
    Conf. Loc.:
    Auburn, AL
    Conf. Date:
    October 5-8, 2022
    Permanent URL:
    Privileging the young over the old is not unique to the United States, but the US does it with skill. While many aging adults are part of dedicated family systems who provide physical, emotional, medical, and psychological support, hundreds of thousands of elders exist in skilled nursing homes (CDC, 2019); many are forgotten or ignored by their families (Hjaltadottir & Gustafsdottir, 2007). Regardless of the reason, institutionalizing elders can accelerate the loss of familial narrative and oral history. The distinction of an institution vs. a family home can contribute to this loss in several ways, including, but not limited to, the physical distance to the institution, personal aversions to healthcare institutions, and the interior design of the resident’s room (Kopec, 2012; Low et al., 2007). The standard nursing home environment is often planned and executed based on minimizing cost and maximizing return on investment: more residents in smaller spaces generates more income (Day, 2011). The outcome of such measures is that 43% number of nursing home residents share a room (NIA, 2017), which can be a significant shock as the resident grapples with the loss of privacy. This work will identify the current state of nursing home design and propose ideas for the future: prototypical shared rooms that maximize residents’ access to privacy, allowing them agency and choice in what they communicate to medical personnel, visitors, and their roommate. Three different rooms at increasing square footages will be shown, and the audience will be asked to remember their own lived experiences, assess the room options, and communicate their thoughts via digital response. As the Baby Boomer generation ages (Barry, 2010), it’s vital to look forward at how we design space for the aging. The environmental impact of intentional design on physiological and psychological health and its connection to effective communication is far-reaching (Yildirim et al., 2007).
    Published as:
    Conference proceeding    
    Last Updated:
    2 weeks ago
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