The objective of this study was to describe how physical and social environmental features of assisted living facilities influence social engagement behaviors of older residents. A secondary objective was to identify the environmental features that were important to residents' social engagement based on their perspectives. Using a qualitative approach, the authors depicted the environmental features and the social engagement patterns of older residents in two assisted living facilities in urban Saint Louis, Missouri. A stratified sample of 10 participants participated in in-depth interviews and 16 participant observations were conducted. Five physical and social features were identified as factors that influenced residents' social engagement patterns. Environmental features that supported social engagement appeared to differ according to participant activity level. Findings from this study have the potential to inform design guidelines that will enhance social engagement in future assisted living facilities.
- Assisted living
- Social engagement