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Saúde e Sociedade

versão impressa ISSN 0104-1290versão On-line ISSN 1984-0470


SANTINHA, Gonçalo  e  MARQUES, Sara. Built environment, public health and public policies: understanding institutionalised older people's behaviour. Saude soc. [online]. 2015, vol.24, n.3, pp.1047-1060. ISSN 0104-1290.

The importance of the built environment in shaping health outcomes does not come as a surprise. In fact, the linkage between these issues dates back to the 19thcentury, known as the sanitary revolution. Due to the increase in life expectancy, public policies more recently began focusing on how to maximize the health and functional capacity of the elderly. The idea is to look at population ageing not as a problem but rather as a challenge and a legacy of prosperous social, economic and spatial development. As such, initiatives like age-friendly cities/communities have come to the forefront worldwide, recognizing that the design, utilities and amenities of places affect the health and well-being of older people. However, these initiatives tend to neglect the important role supportive care facilities play for a considerable number of older people. This paper seeks to understand the impact of the neighbourhood environment of supportive care facilities on older people's behaviour. Data for the study were gathered from 11 facilities of the Aveiro District, Portugal, located in places with different geographical patterns. Semi-structured group interviews were conducted with 88 older persons with an average age of 75, as well as with the institutional setting's personnel. Although, overall, older people are satisfied with the location of their facility, barriers concerning the design of the built environment were largely mentioned. The results achieved provide additional insights for public policies and to strengthen the link between public health and spatial planning.

Palavras-chave : Built Environment; Public Health; Public Policies; Ageing; Supportive Care Facilities.

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