A LANDSCAPE DESIGN FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS AT THE FRIENDS HOUSE RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
Sachs, Naomi Alena
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Nature can play a vital role in people’s health. The need to access nature, and the barriers to doing so, change with each stage of life. Research highlights the importance of access to the outdoors and engagement with nature for older adults in achieving physical and psychological well-being. As people live longer and the senior population grows, there is increasing demand for well-designed residential communities that maximize residents’ health and quality of life. It is particularly important to find solutions that afford access to nature for those facilities. This thesis explores the role that landscape architecture can play in improving the quality of life for seniors at residential facilities, retirement centers and nursing homes. The project employs research-informed strategies for providing safe, easy and rewarding access to nature at the Friends House Retirement Community in Sandy Spring, Maryland. A literature review, site visits, and site inventory and analysis led to development of a design proposal that affords a restorative outdoor environment for Friends House where residents can engage with nature and each other. The site’s significant natural and cultural resources are preserved and amplified.