Psychotherapeutic Living Space for the Elderly: The Psychological Basis



The article is devoted to the problem of designing a psychologically comfortable living environment for seniors. On the example of foreign studies, the necessity of an integrated and scientifically grounded approach to formation of supportive home and institutional environments for elderly people is argued. The basic principles of creation of a healthy physical environment that stimulates social activity and emotional and physical comfort for the elderly are provided: providing sensory comfort, taking into account the activity and preferences of older people, accessibility, plasticity and security of the environment, balance of personal and common spaces, "home design" and a number of others. Modern architectural and design solutions and their therapeutic effect on psychological health of the elderly are considered.

General Information

Keywords: elderly people, psychological wellbeing, psychologically comfortable environment, environmental design, institutional environment, environmental resources

Journal rubric: Theoretical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project No 14-18-02163).

For citation: Reznichenko S.I. Psychotherapeutic Living Space for the Elderly: The Psychological Basis [Elektronnyi resurs]. Klinicheskaia i spetsial'naia psikhologiia = Clinical Psychology and Special Education, 2017. Vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 1–18. DOI: 10.17759/cpse.2017060401. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Geil Ya. Zhizn' sredi zdanii [Life among buildings] [Electronic resource]. Moscow: Al'pina Pablisher, 2012. 200 p. URL: (Accessed: 16.12.2017).
  2. Reznichenko S.I. Varianty stareniya v zavisimosti ot sposoba zhizneustroistva: opyt zarubezhnykh issledovanii [Variants of aging depending on the mode of life: foreign experience] [Electronic resource]. Klinicheskaya i spetsial'naya psikhologiya [Clinical and special psychology], 2017, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 1–22. doi:10.17759/cpse.2017060301 (Accessed: 16.12.2017).
  3. Tret'yakova V.S., Shilova S.N. Problemy zhiznennogo samoopredeleniya pozhilogo cheloveka v usloviyakh gumanizatsii obshchestva [Problems of the life self-determination of an elderly person in the conditions of humanization of society]. Vestnik Krasnoyarskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta im. V.P. Astaf'eva [Bulletin of Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University], 2011, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 273–279.
  4. Tokarskii B.L., Tokarskaya N.M., Nefed'eva E.I. Sotsiologicheskoe issledovanie sotsial'no-psikhologicheskoi adaptatsii pozhilykh grazhdan v usloviyakh statsionarnogo sotsial'nogo obsluzhivaniya [Sociological study of socio-psychological adaptation of elderly citizens in conditions of stationary social services]. Vestnik Tyumenskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Sotsial'no-ekonomicheskie i pravovye issledovaniya [Bulletin of the Tyumen State University. Socio-economic and legal research], 2006, Iss. 1, pp. 57–68. Aripin S. ‘Healing architecture’: Daylight in hospital design [Электронный ресурс].Paper presented on conference on Sustainable Building South East Asia (5-7 November 2007, Malaysia). URL: (дата обращения: 16.12.2017).
  5. Ball M.M., Perkins M.M., et al. Managing decline in assisted living: the key to aging in place // Journal of Gerontology-Social Sciences. 2004. Vol. 59. №4. P. 202–212.
  6. Binstock R.H. The ecology of aging well // The Gerontologist. 2004. Vol. 44. № 4. P. 565–577.
  7. Chaudhury H., Cooke H. Design matters in dementia care: The role of the physical environment in dementia care settings [Электронный ресурс]. In M. Downs, B. Bowers (Eds.) Excellence in dementia care. 2nd ed. UK: Open University Press, 2014. P. 144–158. URL: (дата обращения: 16.12.2017).
  8. Chaudhury H., Mahmood A., Valente M. The Use of Single Patient Rooms versus Multiple Occupancy Rooms in Acute Care Environments. In Coalition for Health Environments Research (CHER) [Электронный ресурс]. Canada, Vancouver: Simon Fraser University, 2004. URL: (дата обращения: 16.12.2017).
  9. Erbaş I. An analysis of living environments of the elderly and a project for assisted living in Ankara [Электронный ресурс]. A thesis submitted to the Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences, Middle East Technical University, 2006. URL: (дата обращения: 16.12.2017).
  10. Fernández-Ballesteros R. Environmental conditions, health and satisfaction among the elderly: some empirical results // Psicothema. 2001. Vol. 13. P. 40–49.
  11. Fernández-Ballesteros R., Zamarrón M.D., Ruíz M.A. Sociodemographic and psychosocial factors: their contribution to life satisfaction // Aging and Society. 2001. Vol. 21. P. 25–43.
  12. Franklin D. How Hospital Gardens Help Patients Heal [Электронный ресурс] // Scientific American. 2012. URL: (дата обращения: 16.12.2017).
  13. Hilleson K. Environmental Factors Influencing Quality of Life for Adults Aged 50 and Older [Электронный ресурс] // Geriatrics CATs. 2010. Paper 4. URL: cgi?article=1000&context=ger (дата обращения: 16.12.2017).
  14. Hoof J., Blom M., Post H., Bastein W. Designing a “Think-Along Dwelling” for People With Dementia: A Co-Creation Project Between Health Care and the Building Services Sector // Journal of Housing For the Elderly. 2013. Vol. 27. № 3. P. 299–332. Doi: 10.1080/02763893.2013.813424
  15. Jones G., van der Eeerden W. Designing care environments for persons with Alzheimer’s disease: visuoperceptual considerations // Reviews in Clinical Gerontology. 2008. Vol. 18. P. 13–37.
  16. Kahana E., Lovegreen L., Kahana B., Kahana M. Person, environment, and person-environment fit as influences on residential satisfaction of elders // Environment and Behavior. 2003. Vol. 35. № 3. P. 434–453.
  17. Lawton M.P., Nahemow L. Ecology and the aging process. In C. Eisdorfer, M.P. Lawton (eds.) Psychology of adult development and aging. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1973. P. 619–674.
  18. Lohr V., Pearson-Mims C. Physical discomfort may be reduced in the presence of interior plants // Horttechnology. 2000. Vol. 10. № 1. P. 53–58.
  19. Marsden J.P. Older persons' and family members' perception of hominess in assisted living // Environment and Behavior. 1999. Vol. 31. № 1. P. 84–106.
  20. Marquardt G., Schmieg P. Dementia-friendly architecture: environments that facilitate wayfinding in nursing homes // American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias. 2009. Vol. 24. № 4. P. 333–340.
  21. Morgan D.G., Stewart N.J. Multiple occupancy versus private rooms on dementia care units // Environment and Behavior. 1998. Vol. 30. № 4. P. 487–503.

Information About the Authors

Sofia I. Reznichenko, PhD in Psychology, Senior Researcher, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 1820
Previous month: 13
Current month: 7


Total: 717
Previous month: 3
Current month: 6