Biophilic Design – How important is it in residential aged care
Incredibly important!! I recently returned from a speaking engagement at the Environments for Aging Conference in the USA. One of the presentations was by the University of Philadelphia on this particular subject.
What is Biophilia? Bio means life and philia in Greek means fondness and was a term coined by Erich Fromm in his book called “The anatomy of Human Destructiveness”. Edward O Wilson popularised the hypothesis in his book “The Biophilia Hypothesis” and he suggests that humans originate from nature and therefore have an innate tendency to be attracted to life and life-like processes.
Philadelphia University presented a thesis on Biophilic Design for the Elderly. In summary, the thesis indicates that it is not just important for humans to stay connected to nature but also interact with it and be a part of the natural process.
This connection would make a person feel that they are a part of a bigger system, which in turn creates a shift in thinking from “I” to “we”.
In many residential aged care facilities, residents often become disconnected to nature and the outdoors. Outdoor spaces are very important, whether it is a balcony or a courtyard the outside areas need to be designed carefully to include all the elements that connect with our five senses.