An Exploratory Study of Patterns of Social Interaction, Organization, and Facility Design in Three Nursing Homes 1
This chapter focuses on factors that promote or deter social interaction. Although most social gerontologists and practitioners in the field agree that interpersonal relations among the aging are generally beneficial, research has had very little to report about how to promote or encourage social interaction among the aged. In an exploratory investigation of three extended care facilities in New York State, an effort has been made to study the relationship of environmental design, management, and the individual and social interaction. M. P. Lawton reports that circular arrangements of rooms around the nursing station promote social interaction between both staff and residents and among the residents themselves. The practitioner or nursing home administrator who is attempting to conscientiously develop his facility finds himself in a real quandary. The distinction appears to be important in terms of the relationship between the rehabilitation oriented facility, where over 50% of the residents participated in therapy classes or other activities, use of lounges was substantially lower.