DR RALPH HAMPSON is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne: teaching, developing online courses and undertaking research. Prior to this he has over 30 years’ experience in health, ageing and community services and operated a consultancy service for 11 years providing strategic planning, service evaluation, mentoring and clinical supervision. His PhD research focused on the impact of the built environment on older people in residential aged care facilities. It has been published in journals, newsletters, industry magazines and presented at local, national and international conferences. Ralph also teaches Ageing, Health and Human Services in the interdisciplinary Master of Ageing.
Hearing Older People’s Voices in the Design Process
Older people who live in long term facilities who are physically frail have a desire to stay engaged with the local community. Based on original research undertaken in Victoria, within the context of some of the latest thinking from Australia and overseas, the study was undertaken using mixed methods.
The research involved a review of the literature, in depth small group interviews with residents, staff, family and carers, and surveys and a best practice forum with architects and managers. The different lenses brought to the design process were explored.
One of the most telling findings was the desire of the residents to stay engaged with their community: the outside world, rather than the confines of what is often experienced as an ‘institutional setting’.
This paper will explore how we might consider ways of creating more permeable boundaries between the residential aged care facility and the local community. The actual voices of residents will be used to highlight the issues and the paper will challenge the audience to consider how we might do this better in the future, and how we might create innovative urban environments which avoid sequestering the frail older person. A model which holds potential and significance in relation to the development of RACFs in the future will also be presented.