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Published in the Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association EDRA 30 (1999): 237. Copyright 1999, the Environmental Design Research Association. Used by permission.


Projected demographic trends suggest the need for specialized housing for older adults will increase substantially in the future. Research shows humans seek to maintain a balance between their functional ability and the challenge of their living environment (Folts &Yeatts, 1994). New empirically based knowledge as a resource for the design of housing for the aging population is not keeping pace with the construction of facilities. The focus of this three-phased project is a comparison of the cognitive perceptions and adaptive behavior strategies of elderly people moving from their current homes into a supportive group living environment. The project included administration and analysis of a survey to gather data: 1) while participants are in their existing homes; 2) immediately after their move to the independent living facility; and 3) six months after their move. Documentation of each physical environment and collection of data was accomplished through personal interviews. This project facilitates a partnership with the architecture profession to gather data and directly apply research results to current and future development of such housing. Most importantly, this project takes a critical view of the role of the physical environment in affecting elderly person's adaptive behavior in times of transition.

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