Physical Environment

All human beings are significantly influenced by the physical environments in which they live and work. It is important to remember that everything in the physical environment of a senior living community is built the way it is because someone designed it that way. In an organization’s journey towards age and ability inclusion it is important to critically assess how the design and use of spaces can either create barriers to including all people or encourage their inclusion in everyday ways. This includes ensuring that both indoor and outdoor communal spaces and personal spaces reflect the way that the individuals living in a community wish to use them. One of the most challenging issues in senior living is the segregation of spaces, often by levels of care. While there may appear to be compelling arguments for this kind of segregation, it can also be argued that this creates unnecessary divisions and even unintentionally stigmatizes individuals who live with physical and/or cognitive frailty.

To assist with scoring and responding to the assessment, you can print out the Organizational Assessment Form and follow along.

Click here to print a PDF of the assessment rubric.

For each statement, respond with: Fully Met, Partially Met, Not Met, Don’t Know, or Not Applicable (NA). Also take a moment to write down for each statement the things that you can improve, and the good things that you can build on.

Domain H Assessment

H1. Common areas are designed and furnished to accommodate the needs of people of all physical and cognitive abilities.

H2. Residents are consulted in the design and furnishing of common areas and spaces. These discussions involve honest discussions about the potential tensions between security and autonomy and creative ways to avoid a culture of “surplus safety. For example:

  • Residents/tenants are encouraged to participate in discussions about design and redesign of the common areas of their communities
  • Questions are asked of residents/tenants about how they use and would like to use common areas
  • Residents/tenants are asked their opinions about any areas where access may be limited, including indoor and outdoor spaces

H3. Design and furnishing choices (including artwork) in our common areas reflect the diverse opinions, tastes, and desires of residents.

H4. Residents are able to find their way around and have easy access to neighbors throughout the community.

H5. Residents are able to access outdoor and indoor spaces throughout the community as they wish.