Oh, the PLAYces You’ll Go: A Comparative Analysis of Public and Private Older Adult Play Spaces

Thumbnail Image
Gryfe, Marley
Older adults over the age of 65 have become the fastest growing age group in the world. This demographic shift requires age-friendly planning that not only supports but also stimulates the aging population. One age-friendly planning approach to engage and excite older adults that is currently overlooked is play. My study aims to address the play gap in age-friendly planning literature by exploring the relationship between older adults with both public and private play spaces. To gain insights into the relationship between older adults and play spaces, a mixed-methods single case study analysis was conducted of Century Village East (CVE), an age-restricted community in Florida. Results from the analysis of naturalistic observations of 245 older adults across three play spaces and ten semi-structured interviews with seasonal residents provided valuable insights on enabling and limiting features of older adult play spaces. Through studying play in a saturated older adult-oriented environment, I was able to develop recommendations for designing public spaces to avoid elements that constrain play, socialization, and physical activity while ensuring the inclusion of play features that foster positive outcomes.
External DOI