Developing Resilience, Independence and Well-being in Older Adults through Interactive Outdoor Space

© Copyright 2017 NCEUB. The morbidity rates in populations of older persons are rising in parallel with increases in life expectancy. Increases in the numbers of older persons, many of whom will be physically dependent, will challenge communities both economically and socially. To compensate for this health loss and the subsequent demands placed on the health care system, there is a growing demand for effective preventative public exercise interventions to enable the ageing population to maintain independence and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. The provision of age-appropriate playground and exercise equipment for older persons has been gaining international popularity and is expected to become increasingly popular among local governments as a direct result of rhetoric relating to the development of age-friendly cities. Using a multidisciplinary lens, this project maps desired rehabilitation outcomes with exercise equipment design and landscape architecture. It seeks to identify both physical and motivational strategies that are most successful in maintaining good health and well-being in old age. Findings suggest that there is demand for open public space interventions that can safely train balance, muscular strength, and cardiovascular fitness. However, there is a lack of health research examining the usefulness and the sustainability of currently available equipment. There is also a necessity to address participation barriers and manage potential adherence issues that prohibit older persons from engaging in beneficial physical activity.