Sustainable Homes for the Elderly

The rapidly growing elderly population is a worldwide concern due to the added pressure on public resources and the associated difficulties with supporting these vulnerable members of society. In the UK, ten million people were over sixty-five years old in 2010, and this is projected to increase to nineteen million by 2020. Over two million households are considered to be in fuel poverty and living in unsatisfactory conditions, and many of those people struggling to afford their energy bills are elderly. Fuel poverty is proven to lead to decreased health, quality of life, and wellbeing. Often, assisted- and independent-living features are considered separately from sustainable and energy-efficient design strategies. In this article, the authors argue that due to the overlaps between the concepts and their benefits, these should be considered holistically in the design of housing solutions for the elderly in order to include all key components that help to support health and wellbeing: spatial quality, easy mobility, adaptability, environmental comfort, energy efficiency, and smart technologies for domestic health care monitoring. The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E. in Nottingham, UK, an exemplary sustainable home, was used as a vehicle to explore this approach. A multi-objective methodology was used: spatial and environmental standard parameters were compared and aligned with users’ needs as gathered from interviews and empirical data. Significant reductions of 61 percent of energy demand when compared to a typical dwelling for elderly users were achieved, with comfort standards maintained full-time and spatial requirements adapted to support independent living.

Intergenerational Value Transmission: Gender Effects on Values Grandchildren Share with Grandparents

Improved longevity has provided extended grandparenthood for many older adults. While close grandparent-grandchild (GP-GC) relationships may significantly impact grandchildren’s lives, the extent to which grandparental values are shared by their grandchildren remains unclear. Less clear is whether GP-GC relationships influence grandchildren’s values or in what areas grandchildren share their values with grandparents. This study, based on responses from an Institutional Review Board-approved online survey (N = 470), examined the degree of similarity between grandparents and grandchildren in seven value domains (educational, moral, religious, political, social, leisure, and community). The results revealed that adult grandchildren saw their educational values as most similar to those of their grandparents; leisure and political values were least similar. Also revealed were gender effects; granddaughters more than grandsons perceived that their educational and social values were significantly closer to those of their grandparents. Grandmothers had more significant influences on their grandsons’ religious values than did grandfathers, while grandfathers had more significant influences on their grandsons’ leisure values than did grandmothers. An association between GP-GC closeness and value transmission was found. Interpretations and implications of the findings as they promote active grandparental involvement are discussed.

Life Course and Physical Activity of an Aging America

This paper addresses physical activity in an aging America using life-course theory, employing cross-sectional data (N=282,313) from ten years of the US National Health Interview Survey. The aim is to explore detailed relationships of physical activity behavior to life course and related background factors in a larger data set than available in longitudinal surveys. The practice aim is to suggest intervention strategies with populations with unique life-course and background characteristics. Life-course theory is a dynamic theory properly vetted with longitudinal data. However, use of multiple years of a large, nationally representative cross-sectional survey allows for separation of cohort, age, and historical factors and consideration of their interactions with such background factors as gender, ethnicity/race, marital status, living situation, and any immigration background. Complex patterns are shown by marital status interacted with gender, with very different effects of marital status for women than for men. Likewise, different patterns are shown by ethnicity interacted with age. Implications for health promotion are considered particularly for gender, marital status, and ethnicity, especially as they interact with age.