Getting Old: A Design Solution to Improve Mental Health Post Retirement
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Individuals 65 years and older are struggling with the alarmingly high suicide rates among their peers. This is often caused by the sudden lack of purpose following retirement. Designing for community involvement while still maintaining a secure sense of independence will play a major role in increasing the quality of life in those 65 and older. The American population over 65 is projected to grow from the current 16.3% to about 19% by 2050. This means a solution to this growing problem is needed now more than ever. Retirement communities have grown all around the United states, but seem to lack many qualities that I hope to incorporate including, but not limited to; luxury, thrill and independence. This thesis will examine how community orientated living can improve day to day life for those who are in limbo between middle age and elderly. Improvement will be measured based on impacts in mental health due to community involvement and connections to active amenities. To investigate this problem, The following questions will need to be answered; What is causing the struggle with mental health in those 65 and older? How can architecture improve the situation? How does community living affect mental health? The type of thesis research I will be using is a hybrid of historical, qualitative, correlation, logical argumentation and case studies. Emphasizing on case studies and qualitative as the most important thanks to their ability to show architectural specifics and social specifics simultaneously. Looking at existing projects and understanding how and why they work or how they don’t work. Secondly also interviewing anticipated users of the facility and healthcare professionals currently working with the intended audience as part of qualitative research.