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Title: Blurring the lines of an institution: intergenerational architectural interventions for a senior home in Chelmsford, Ontario.
Authors: Lauzon, BriAnne
Keywords: Intergenerational architectural interventions;senior home;theory of disengagement;theory of activity
Issue Date: 9-Jun-2020
Abstract: Social Isolation My grandmother, Janita (Trottier) Lamontagne, moved to Villa St. Gabriel Villa (SGV) due to a physical disability at age 83. I am still uncomfortable with the fact that she spent her last year in a 26 square meter room. The senior home to me was (and still is) a barricade of sorts; it kept the residents inside, along with my grandmother. The physical environment surrounding SGV does not help, making it difficult for the residents to take walks to neighbouring familiar places, even with the assistance of a walker or a granddaughter pushing grandmother in a wheelchair. Journeying out of the home is difficult for seniors.1 Thus, the senior residents gradually become "prisoners" in their own space. A Call to Action The Global Watch Index has identified that the senior population is expected to rise dramatically by 2050.2 Canada’s senior statistics show a 40 percent increase from 2011-2021, and by 2031 the population will nearly double.3 The City of Greater Sudbury, Ontario, is the only northern city in Ontario projected to increase as others are projected to remain the same or decline.4 The elderly will have fewer grandchildren as women in Canada are having fewer children later in life.5 By 2050, there will be more seniors on earth than there will be children.6 Susan Pinker has stated that "social isolation is the public risk of our time" and Baroness Sally Greengross regards "isolation as one of the greatest enemies of old age."8 For this reason, socially inclusive and Intergenerational housing for seniors is presently urgent. Raison d’être Two opposing theories are imperative to this architectural thesis. The first is the theory of disengagement, and the second is the theory of activity. The theory of disengagement is used to minimize social disruption by preventing seniors from having a role in the community. It gives the government authority to legitimize retirement based on age.9 Retirement allows society to remain in equilibrium after the loss of a member. Furthermore, seniors are gradually being disengaged from society before their deaths by being placed in retirement homes, nursing homes or senior homes as a measure to lessen societal disruption.10 Seniors have to cope with the challenges of ageing11 (Wahl 2001) but it does not mean they should be withdrawn from society.12 Opposed to this ageist theory is the theory of activity.13 As Powell argues, seniors must develop new sets of roles and activities in order to enhance their life satisfaction.14 The concept of the theory of activity can change society’s attitudes toward seniors and the ways in which they have been housed. Indeed, ageing is often perceived as difficult, but there are benefits.15 Older adults develop a sense of "generativity":16 a willingness to invest in the future generation,17 which is beneficial to both bookend generations.18 Thus, the implementation of intergenerational programs in senior homes addresses the need for ikigai19 and socialization. By creating an intergenerational village for seniors in northern communities, this thesis aims to transform the Villa St. Gabriel Villa in Chelmsford from a senior-only zone into an Intergenerational Community Hub. This transformation aims to eliminate the stigma surrounding senior homes by offering new ways of designing for diversity and social inclusivity.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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