عنوان مقاله [English]
Undoubtedly, an increase in the population of the elderly is one of the most important economic, social and health challenges of the 21st century. The reduced quality of life in nursing houses, which is often neglected, is a significant challenge that should be addressed by the authorities. When living in nursing house is an obligation for the elderly, they often feel rejected, detached, and abandoned for being useless and unworthy. Hence, it is normal that they react negatively. These people often feel insignificant, apathetic and disliked. Regarding the human interaction with the space, increasing the sense of belonging to the place in the nursing houses is an important issue. Being distant from home and family and losing the family support and reduced health, can reduce the quality of life in elderly nursing houses. This research aims at studying the effect of a sense of belonging to place on improving the quality of life for elderly nursing house residents.
This research is a descriptive-correlational study that scrutinizes the correlating factors shaping the sense of belonging to place and quality of life for residents of nursing houses in Shiraz. The data was collected through a Likert scale questionnaire. The statistical population of the study includes all elderly men and women living in nursing houses of Shiraz, including 350 people living in 5 year-old nursing houses. The sample size was estimated 184 units according to Cochran formula. However, a more accurate study of the statistical population showed that some intervening factors such as Alzheimer, mental disability, deafness, and illiteracy necessitates the presence of the researcher in the statistical population to identify the conscious elderly. Ultimately, 41 people residing in 5 nursing houses of Shiraz were identified to be able to participate in research. Having interviewed the nursing houses, the researches prepared the questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed based on the five-point Likert scale with 17 questions, including physical, cognitive, and social elements that could affect the sense of belonging to the place. As a result, the factors that shape the sense of belonging to the place including the perceptual-cognitive factors, social factors and environmental-physical factors were examined in three hypotheses. Data analysis was performed using non-parametric Chi-square test.
The Chi-square statistic for the first hypothesis investigating the cognitive-behavioral factors in improving the quality of life for residents of nursing houses, is 7.7%, which is 95% statistically meaningful. Therefore, the first research hypothesis, which reminds past experiences and brings identity to people, can be considered acceptable. The second research hypothesis investigated the social factors in improving the quality of life in nursing houses. Having a Chi-square statistic of 268/15, the second research hypothesis was considered statistically significant at 100% level.
The third hypothesis that investigated the environmental-physical factors in improving the quality of life for the residents of nursing houses, showed that a sense of place is found in places that are noticeably distinctive and personalized by tangible concepts such as material, shape, texture and color. The environmental-physical factors with a Chi-square of 683/7 indicates that these factors are confirmed by the elderly.
The findings show that the attitudes and mentality of the elderly can be changed when the design is based on the effective factors that shape the sense of place. The benefits of such approach delivers tranquility and a sense of security and revives the destroyed feelings. The elderly and the society will, therefore, show a different attitude when perceiving these places. Therefore, this study tries to associate the individual’s life of the elderly with his/her current place of residence (nursing house) in order to recognize the relation and the effect of architecture on the individual’s mentality. Creating a relaxed atmosphere free of stress and mental distresses caused by personal affiliations encourages the elderly to live longer and brings vitality to their life and revives their forgotten position in the society. Therefore, it can be concluded that space and architecture play the fundamental role in this area.
The sense of place leads to connection to the context and the individuals shape a combination of roles, function, and characteristics based on their experiences. This role is regarded unique to them, and therefore the place becomes important and meaningful to them. In this situation, the quality of place is ameliorated. Therefore, by increasing the sense of belonging to the place in the nursing houses, it is possible to adapt the elderly to these places and help them improve their quality of life. This requires the design to be adapted according to the needs and demands of the elderly and paying attention to their past experiences.
The sense of belonging to the place, which is an important factor in shaping the communication bases for users and the environment, will ultimately lead to the creation of quality in the environments. Physical features (such as form, color, size, shape, scale and texture) and perceptive-cognitive factors as well as social activities also play important roles in achieving a sense of belonging to the place in the elderly nursing residences.