Online Program

Evaluating the built environment in senior-oriented spaces

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sarah Walsh, MPH, CHES, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Louisville, KY
John Gilderbloom, PhD, Department of Urban and Public Affairs, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Susan Buchino, MS, OTR/L, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
A. Scott LaJoie, PhD, MSPH, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
As we reshape our cities to promote health in the future, we cannot neglect the needs of our current aging population. While independent living – or aging in place – is often viewed as a hallmark of healthy aging, it is not the reality for many seniors. For the foreseeable future, many older adults will continue to need to leave their primary residence and relocate to retirement homes, continuing care settings, nursing homes and assisted living communities. The micro-neighborhoods surrounding these residential facilities are of critical importance to the health of seniors, and they should be targets for healthy aging research. If we tell older adults that a space is for them, then that space in particular needs to meet their needs.

This presentation will review findings from micro-neighborhood audits in the area surrounding nine assisted living communities in Greater Louisville. Micro-neighborhoods were defined as all street segments contained within a 1/8 mile radius of an assisted living community. Highways, alleys, and street segments less than 50 feet in length were excluded from the study. These audits were conducted using the revised Senior Walking Environmental Assessment Tool (Michael et al, Prev Med 2009, 48(3)247-9) to determine the relative quality of each.

Traditionally, evaluations of the built environment use randomly selected neighborhoods and neighborhood sections. By using assisted living facilities as focal points, this study design is more reflective of the needs of the target population and could be adapted for any senior-oriented land use.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the process for evaluating built environment quality in micro-neighborhoods surrounding residential communities for seniors. Compare the relative quality of the built environment surrounding various assisted living communities.

Keyword(s): Aging, Data Collection

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I collected and analyzed this data as part of my dissertation research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 2051.0: Environment and Aging