The discussions about the needs of older people in the public space are complex. Together with our company the German Seniorenliga e.V. actively engaged this issue in October 2009 in order to provide decision-makers in towns and cities a practical aid.
The compiled findings are based on a qualitative study of 20 subjects in collaboration with the Centre for Age cultures of the University of Bonn.
These findings we have summarized together with the German Senior Citizens League in a flyer. To download, please use the following link: FLYER-DOWNLOAD
Older people in public space - the center of the desired changes are mainly two needs. First, it is the aspect of "rest" in the foreground, on the other hand, the desire for more places where social contact and encounter, even and especially between the generations, is possible. A better care and preservation of meeting places of public space is considered urgent. Further on there is need of designing and restructuring of public spaces and streets, for example through the reorganization of park benches. These places should be located in the immediate vicinity of his own home where a "neighborhood culture" can be maintained.
What are park benches for the elderly ...
Based on the image of park benches there is a strong contrast between a more traditional embossed ideal image and the experience of park benches in the reality of public space. The positive embellished ideal describes the park bench as a haven of peace, relaxation and rest, but also as a meeting place, where you can get in touch with others. In contrast, the experience of reality is strongly marked by negative experiences: pollution, disfigurement, which is additionally illustrated by associations such as "empty bottles" and "crowded wastebaskets." The available supply of park benches is (52.6 percent) considered by more than half of those surveyed as inadequate.
Settings to "age-appropriate" or "Senior Bank":
Only a third of respondents thinks positively about the term of a "Senior Bank". A pure seniors bank is mostly something for the immediate surroundings of senior centers. It is proposed to replace the term "age-appropriate" by the term "formfitting for all ages". Through a friendly color scheme, these banks should also be equally welcoming to young and old.
Conclusion: The importance of public space is very high for the elderly, especially in the home environment, but it seems to be not sufficiently equipped with offers to stay. When designing intergenerational public furniture, these are to be preferred, that allow that young and old can exchange information. In the choice of seating furniture is to meet the special ergonomic needs of mature persons. It is to pay particular attention to an appropriate seat height and a high backrest.
Ideal typical characteristics of a park bench:
In the NUSSER-group of companies these findings will play a greater role in future developments. We already have a number of products in the program, that meet the requirements described here. Make sure when looking for a particular senior-focused or ergonomic bench model to the relevant selection criterion in the Product Guide. This bench models are marked with our ReGerO logo.
For more general information on this topic, see http://www.deutsche-seniorenliga.de/
Important characteristics of a senior-friendly park bench:
To meet the suitability "senior-focused" not all characteristics from this list must be fulfilled, but at least three. In our range of products the following products fulfill at least three characteristics:
In the NUSSER-group of companies these findings will play a greater role in future developments. Make sure when looking for a particular senior-friendly or ergonomic bench-model to the relevant selection criterion in the Product Guide.