Användning och användbarhet i särskilda boendeformer för äldre. Aspekter på användning och användbarhet i boendemiljöer för äldre inom den kommunala äldreomsorgen i Göteborg.
Assisted living facilities for elderly represents the major costs within the budget for eldercare for municipalities in Sweden. As the municipalities are responsible for public eldercare, which consumes a fifth of the total municipal budget, the consequence of the demographic development within the coming decades will imply major challenges for this sector. It also stresses the importance of creating adequate living conditions for the growing number of frail, elderly people. Political measures are underway and involve new housing concepts for senior citizens and changed conditions for assisted living.
This PhD-project is ongoing 2009-2013 and is jointly financed by the City of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. The City has a great interest in research about assisted living facilities, being responsible for the construction and maintenance, as well as the daily use represented by the eldercare providers. It is therefore crucial to understand the prerequisites for usability in existing facilities, in order to create new and adequate environments. The project is expected to contribute to building programming, eldercare facilities planning and property management in the eldercare sector.
This thesis is based upon an observation study in five assisted living facilities in Gothenburg. The results provide partial answers to the question: "How are the environments used and how is the usability affected by the physical environment and by the users’ activities?" The results highlight a number of discrepancies between the actual use and the intended use of the environments and their various functions. It also highlights a number of conflicts in use between different users or groups of users, along with differing purposes for the use of the premises.
The thesis points to the complex relationship between use and activity and emphasizes the need for adequate planning concerning eldercare facilities. Particular attention must to be given to the relationship between facilities, staff and elderly and their use of the facilities. From a practical point of view the study shows how changes in use over time can have a negative effect on the daily activities. To develop an understanding of processes evolving in daily use of assisted living facilities, further studies needs to include the users' attitudes in order to better understand the context for activities in the facilities.