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Designing for Social Health and Aging

March 2015
Executive Summary
The Center For Health Design

Remembering Social Needs

Social needs are focused on relationships with others around us. Older adults living in residential care settings frequently experience disruption in their social networks. This is especially true for new residents, making it vital that the designed environment facilitate supportive social relationships.

Several social concepts and potential design implications are highlighted in the table below. Family relationships, friendship formation, group membership, personal space, territoriality, and communication all contribute to social health among older adults.


Related References

Brawley, B. C. (2006). Designing innovations for aging and Alzheimer’s: Creating caring environments. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Cutler, L. J. (2008). Nothing is traditional about environments in a traditional nursing home: Nursing homes as places to live now and in the future. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Deasey, C., & Lasswell, T. (1985). Design places for people: A handbook on human behavior for architects, designers, and facility managers. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill Publications.

Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York, NY: Anchor Books.

Hall, E. T. (1966). The hidden dimension. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Joseph, A. (2006). Health promotion by design in long-term care settings. Concord, CA: The Center for Health Design.

Schwarz, B., & Brent, R. (1999). Aging, autonomy, and architecture: Advances in assisted living. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.


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