Ilana Leber, Minimising Social Barriers in Aged Care [×]
At an aged care home, material and immaterial boundaries each create obstacles for social interactions. This design research project seeks to minimise these social barriers for residents of an aged care facility to foster connections that enhance emotional wellbeing. Research reveals that living in a social environment is essential for well-being.
The question posed is; how can we design communal spaces in aged care to encourage the residents to foster relationships and interact?
This design project is situated in an existing aged care home to explore ways of forming better social connections during daily activities. Different strategies have been employed to remove the spatial constraints that restrict a resident’s mobility and ability to connect. By reconfiguring the spatial layouts I have opened up a discussion on the model of care and social connections in aged care. Game spaces have been designed through the use of way-finding, thresholds and extending structural boundaries to help encourage people to come together. Speculative design techniques and perspective drawings were used to find meeting points and zoned divisions for social interactions. The diagrams portray thresholds at the site and are superimposed to support distant and close interactions.
Close social interactions emerge from layering materials and surface encounters that perform in the communal space to lessen the physical and social barriers faced by residents. Playing games is an important aspect of living well and helps the older generation to form friendships within aged care facilities.
As a result, I designed a framework that offers adaptable activity spaces created through the use of materials and new technologies that identify ways of reducing the effects of physical and emotional barriers to facilitate friendships in aged care homes.