Abstract / Description of output

Inactive lifestyles have negative health consequences, while time spent sedentary (sitting and lying) is related to morbidity and premature mortality. Older adults often form the most sedentary segment of the population. Much of this behaviour may be practised at home where this group can spend extended periods. Physical activity rates among older adults are particularly low. Even household physical activities can be beneficial for this group while they can constitute much of an older person’s total activity. Despite this context, the home’s role in the active and sedentary behaviours of the older population appears critically understudied. Using interview and focus group data collected from 22 older adults, (healthy volunteers, stroke survivors and people with dementia), this paper begins to address this issue. Aspects of the home which aid or impede a more active, less sedentary lifestyle are identified with three presenting particular capacity in this respect discussed – steps, space within the home and the location and form of facilities, fixtures and fittings. The crucial role health status plays in structuring this capacity is identified. Simple design recommendations, devised to support older people to lead more active lives at home, are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-630
Number of pages15
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number5
Early online date4 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • active design
  • active living
  • age
  • built environment
  • design characteristics
  • home
  • housing
  • older adults
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behaviour


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