Title: Older Adults’ Mental Maps of Their Spatial Environment: Exploring Differences in Attachment to the Environment Between Participants in Adult Day Care Centers in Rural and Urban Environments
Stream: Built Environment
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Adi Vitman- Schorr, Shamir Research Institute, University of Haifa, Israel
Liat Ayalon, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Introduction: The psychological processes by which individuals gather, arrange, encode, and interpret information related to characteristics of the environment are called ‘‘mental mapping’’. The ability to construct mental representation of the environment, is essential for independent living and particularly important for maintaining personal autonomy and quality of life in older age. The study objectives where to examine the way older adults, living in different arrangements and settlement types, draw mental maps of their living environments. The purpose was to examine different living arrangements (continuing care retirement community- CCRC and adult day care centers- ADCC) and different settlement types (city vs. kibbutz). The study focused on the questions: What characterizes the mental maps? Do the maps differ across living arrangements or settlement types? Material and Methods: For the purpose of this study potential participants received explanations about the study and signed an informed consent. Interviews included filling up questionnaire and drawing mental maps (participants were told: "Please draw the surroundings of the ADCC/ CCRC and mark all the important places"). Results: The main findings of the research concern the mental maps drawn by residents in the urban CCRC and participants in the kibbutz ADCC. Both groups drew unique maps which characterize their life style-settlement type, on the one hand, and the living arrangements, on the other. Discussion: Mental maps can be used as a tool to measure the level of familiarity and connection to the environment and how this connection is characterized in the different living arrangements and types of settlements.
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