Urban design and wellbeing of older adults

The photo shows the facade of an old red brick building with an assortment of graffiti and tags. There is a doorway and in front is a rubbish binKeeping mobile and active whether walking, riding or using a mobility device is essential for staying connected and maintaining good mental health. According to the authors of “Neighbourhood Amenities and Depressive Symptoms in Urban-Dwelling Older Adults“, past research suggests that the effect of poorly designed and maintained environments can have a negative effect on the mental wellbeing of older adults. If getting out and about is restricted because the environment is not accessible, or perceived as unsafe or unpleasant, this can lead to depressive symptoms. An interesting report from Gillepsie, LeVasseur, and Michael, who conclude that their findings “support public policy to promote neighbourhoods with diverse amenities as a means to support mental health in older adults”.

One of the main findings was, “the lack of diverse amenities within the neighbourhood was associated with depression among those older adults with greater mobility, i.e. the capacity to travel into the neighbourhood. Consistent with other findings in our study, amenity diversity was more relevant to older adults that engaged in regular walking behaviour, or had high mobility status (Nagel et al., 2008). Among those older adults with low mobility, we observed no difference in depression by amenity diversity. Older adults with restricted mobility may be less aware of the resources available (or not available) in their neighbourhood.”

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