Ageing in Hong Kong? Study on Local Elderly Housing and Multi-generational Living in Future
3.01 What Makes a Desirable Living Environment? A range of factors needed to be considered when housing the elderly. Design should take health and safety needs into account. As elderly people often experience a decline in visual acuity, memory and mobility, this means that good lighting, barrierfree access, simple and direct circulation paths are required. Elderly people living in safe environments are less likely to injure from fall, more willing to get out and about, and less prone to isolation and mobility problems.1
Reduced physical functioning makes elderly people feel insecure and more sensitive to their surroundings, including threats of danger. Thus housing design should make residents feel safe with well-lit environments and no dark corners. Site orientation should be well considered for abundant sunshine and ventilation to enhance comfort.
Aside from the accommodation, the services available in the neighbourhood should also be affordable. Proximity to services such as shops, recreational programs, clinics, social support, legal help and public transport can help elderly people feel engaged in the local community. As elderly people often stay around public spaces, facilities should be well designed to encourage positive social interactions for the elderly to expand their social networks. However, elements listed above are only the basics. To achieve successful ageing, it will take more than mere provision of a welldesigned shelter and associated services.