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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Senior cohousing: An optimal alternative for aging in place
by Kramp, Jessica, M.S., Oklahoma State University, 2012, 110; 1534702
Abstract (Summary)

The rising numbers of individuals emerging into older adulthood may lead to overcrowding of current facilities in the near future. Many existing facilities do not seem to be preferable environments for numerous older adults deciding where they will live out the duration of their life. Facilities often appear to neglect two important aspects of transitioning to a new home and aging in place in older adulthood: place attachment and autonomy.

This study examined the opinions of potential residents regarding the residential floor plan design of senior cohousing communities as a means to provide older adults with an alternative housing option in which they may optimally age in place. For this study, current and potential members of a senior cohousing community participated in unstructured, individual interviews and in an open-ended focus group to gather this information.

Data collected from participants was used in conjunction with the seven universal design guidelines to guide the design of four individual floor plans that addressed place attachment and perceived autonomy. These floor plans were presented to participants in a questionnaire with a post-evaluation that determined the observed successes and deficiencies of the floor plans in promoting place attachment and perceived autonomy in relation to aging in place.

These observed successes and deficiencies were based on participants' perceived connectedness to the residences, creating relationships with other members within the community, and whether they would feel autonomous within that residence. According to the responses of the post-evaluation questionnaires, it was supported that the four individual floor plans would promote both place attachment and perceived autonomy. The collected responses from the post-evaluation provided evidence that these four floor plans could work for future senior cohousing communities whose members may opt for universally designed residences.

Results from this study may aid older adults in finding a new alternative housing option in senior cohousing in which they can optimally age in place. This study may serve other researchers in the fields of interior design, architecture, and gerontology as it may provide answers to the gap in literature concerning the residential preferences of older adults.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lyon, Melinda
Commitee: Johnston, Jan, Kang, Mihyun, Lyon, Melinda, Russ, Randall
School: Oklahoma State University
Department: Design, Housing, & Merchandising
School Location: United States -- Oklahoma
Source: MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Gerontology, Design
Keywords: Aging in place, Autonomy, Older adults, Place attachment, Senior cohousing, Universal design
Publication Number: 1534702
ISBN: 978-1-267-95769-6
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