Ensuring elderly mobility environmental and safety issues
Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to provide a better understanding of the issues of safe mobility for the elderly population in Sweden. This is achieved first by assessing the geography and patterns of elderly falls at the county level and then by conducting a detailed survey with residents in senior housing to investigate the relationship between indoor and/or outdoor environmental characteristics and elderly safety. Safety is regarded as a multidimensional concept that involves risk of falls, crime victimization and elderly people’s perception of their overall safety. Using a case study approach, the study also assesses the types of outdoor places where most crimes against the elderly take place and the types of places most feared by them. The study adapts a set of qualitative and quantitative methods to capture the nature of the phenomena; trends, patterns and frameworks that support the analysis and implications of the results for both research and practice. The findings show that elderly falls in Sweden vary geographically and exhibit gender, age, environmental, and socio-economic differences. The mobility of the older population is influenced by their perceived safety in indoor and outdoor environments. Certain features of apartment layout and furniture arrangement are identified as potential causes of falls. Older adults’ perception of safety exhibits a distance-decay effect from their senior housing building. Distance decay indicates that safety is deemed highest closest to their homes and decreases as the distance increases. There are indications that older adults take longer routes and increase their mobility because they are fearful at certain spots in their neighbourhood. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the results and implications for both research and policy making at the local and county levels.
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