During my stay in China I had the chance to do a project together with an elderly service center. With this project we were asked to determine the problems and advice the elderly service centre on what to improve. Our main purpose was to improve the quality of life for the elderly at the elderly service center.
The location for this project is the elderly service centre situated on Ling Cheng Road in Shanghai. The elderly center exists for 20 years and is a home for 46 elderly. The floor space of the building is 200m2 per floor. There are 4 floors and each floor has it’s own purpose. There are 50 beds in the building and the rooms are shared with 4 people. 36 elderly need primary care, 8 people need secondary care and 2 people need tertiary care. The staff consists out of 16 people.
The entrance is close to the street, there is a sidewalk between the street and the entrance. The entrance is accessible with a ramp of with the stairs. When you get into the building on the left side is the guard. On the right from the entrance is an office space. When you walk further in the first floor the kitchen and social room are situated.The kitchen downstairs is big and this is the place where the food for the elderly living in the elderly centre and the food for the elderly living at home is made. The elderly centre also provides the elderly living at home with food. This is one of the extra services they have. The second floor contains 7 rooms each or 4 people. In the hallway there are a couple of tables for people to eat at or have social activities. There are 2 bathrooms, one toilet and a small kitchen.On the third floor another 5 rooms are situated. The hallway is smaller than on the second floor and there is also a small bathroom and toilet. On the fourth floor is the laundry room, the meeting room and the the staff room.
Research and problem defining.
We started with doing observations and mapping these to find the area’s of issue. These 4 area’s of issue are safety, social interactions, privacy and emotional environment. With these area’s in mind we formed a problem statement which would be the framework for this projects and advice.
Although the elderly service centre provides the basic care the elderly need, it does not fulfil all the needs regarding the quality of their everyday life and emotional well-being. The issues are found in the area’s of safety, privacy, social interaction and emotional experience. The main area of issue is the lack of positive emotional experiences.
In the service center the physical spaces are small and there is no outside space. This results in
not enough privacy and social interaction that is needed for the elderly; it is hard to organise any activities which is unsafe for the health of the elderly and it creates problems in the social relationships of the elderly.
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Our advice to the elderly service centre was:
Bring the outside to the inside.
We want to bring nature to the inside of the elderly service center. We want to grasp everything that makes nature an emotional experience. The way we want to this is by integrating smell, images, objects, sounds and sunlight into the 4th floor to make it feel like the room is an outside space. We also want to integrate some of this into the other floors but on a smaller level.
We want to engage more people to the elderly service center. We want to bring in people to create more social interaction. The can be done by creating a nice space for people to meet each other. Right now there is not a place for people to come over and just relax and talk with the elderly.
For the elderly service center it is hard to keep up with everything that is going on in the world. For example what the news is, how it is going with their families etc.
How to do this.
To make our main idea come to life in the elderly service center we decided to design some activities that will build a bridge between the outside and the inside. The purpose of these activities is to improve the quality of life and the emotional well-being of the elderly. We want to give the elderly a purpose, improve social interactions and have meaningful emotional experience. This will help to make the elderly feel less lonely and will give them hope and happiness. We designed 6 activities with 6 different theme’s. They can all be held weekly on different days. This will give the elderly something to look forward to and brings some structure into their life.
Redesign of the 4th floor.