WEAVING IN WOOD : An architectural strategy in Umeå that strive to decrease loneliness and include elderly with physical and cognitive impairments

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Umeå universitet/Arkitekthögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Sammanfattning: WEAVING IN WOOD  An architectural strategy in Umeå that strive to decrease loneliness and include elderly with physical and cognitive impairments A Master Thesis by Rebecka Littbrand                                                                                                   Spring 2020   Background Feelings of loneliness is common in the whole western world, especially among older people. Loneliness is of public health concerns as being a risk factor for many severe diseases and premature mortality. Scientists argues that an increase of social embeddedness is essential for improvements in well-being and quality of life. The focus group for this master thesis is elderly that lives in ordinary housing in Umeå, Sweden. Among elderly physical and cognitive impairments such as dementia are common, as well as getting help from the Home care service. Methodology This master thesis investigates different factors linked to loneliness, the current situation in Umeå regarding meeting places for elderly and architectural features to include elderly with impairments. Study visits to existing meeting places, interviews with local actors and experts within the field as well as reading literature have driven the project forward.   Findings Most districts in Umeå have no meeting place where elderly with impairments easily can participate. To include elderly with physical and cognitive impairments there are important to counteract 5 barriers: Long distance, Hidden placement, Need to plan and sign up in advance to participate, Insecurity if there will be someone there who can support you and Cost for participating.        To ease for people with dementia and to create a meeting place that feels welcoming and secure there are several architectural features that should be taken into consideration, e.g. arrange the rooms around a central common space, highlight functions by using powerful colours, being on ground floor and visual connections between certain spaces, which the “Open meeting places” provided by the municipality in Umeå have problems in fulfilling.    Conclusion  An architectural strategy in Umeå to reduce loneliness among elderly living in ordinary housing and that counteracts the barriers to include elderly with physical and cognitive impairments is needed. By placing New open meeting places next to the local food stores in the different districts of Umeå the barriers Hidden placement and Long distance are counteracted, enabling the Home care service to guide elderly to the places. The meeting places will consider important architectural features to include people with dementia and create a place that feels welcoming and secure.      The New open meeting places will collaborate with local actors, strive to highlight the importance of social interaction, take away the stigma related to loneliness as well as give the elderly population more prominent and visible places in society.

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