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Environment abstract:

Journal of Mental Health and Aging, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1997

Assessing Environments For Older People With Chronic Illness

M. Powell Lawton, PhD

Gerald D. Weisman

Philip Sloane

Margaret Calkins


The environmental quality of older people represents an essential aspect of their quality of life. Dimensions by which such environments may be assessed and several possible sources of data are outlined. The types of environments most relevant to older people with chronic illness are group residential environments (particularly nursing homes and special care units for elders with dementing illness) and individual residential environments in unplanned community locations. Attempts to specify appropriate attributes for assessing group environments are reviewed. Little application of this thinking to individual residential environments has occurred as yet. Advantages of taxonomy of attributes applicable to any environment are acknowledged, but it is likely that user-specific (i.e., for dementing illness) modules will always be necessary additions. Several assessment instruments for group residential environments are either now available or will be available shortly, but none designed for individual community dwelling units has reached the stage of psychometric analysis.

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