Creative Home Mapping – An innovative insight into ageing at home

May 27, 2022

·Dr Sarah Swift

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We are using a range of creative research methods throughout the DesHCA project, to help us to learn from our participants about what matters to them in their home. Using creative methods, such as drawing, photography, and research involving technology, can enable researchers to understand complex topics in new and innovative ways, and can help participants to feel more engaged in the research process. Creative methods can also offer a more inclusive approach to research, supporting people who are less able to verbally communicate to take part in studies.

We are currently recruiting fifty participants who are older (55+), or living with cognitive change, to make a creative map of their home. These maps will help us to understand what DesHCA participants’ homes look like, how they use their space, any adaptations they have made, and their favourite and least favourite parts of their home.

Our participants can create their map however they like, whether by hand-drawing a map, building a map using cardboard shapes and crafting supplies provided by the research team, or creating a video or photo map.

After participants have made their map, they will be invited to take part in an interview to discuss the map in more detail with a member of the DesHCA team. Six months later, they will be invited to create a second map, to help us to understand whether the way they use their home changes over different seasons.

Later in the year, we will have more research activities available, in which our creative mapping participants will be invited to take part. These activities include virtual reality tours of age-friendly home designs developed by our architect colleagues, and playing a Serious Game together with architects, designers, builders, and local authority representatives, to explore factors that help or hinder accessible design in new and retrofitted houses. However, all research activities are optional; participants can choose to participate in as many, or as few, activities as they like.

If you are an older person or someone living with cognitive change in Scotland, and you would like to find out more about taking part in the DesHCA project, you can complete our expression of interest form, and a member of the research team will get in touch with you.