Associate Professor Pazit Levinger
Senior Researcher, National Ageing Research Institute
Adapting the historic and traditional build & siting of play spaces/ fitness equipment pods to also suite the needs of older adults
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the critical importance of parks and public outdoors to our physical and mental wellbeing. Older people in particular, have been adversely impacted by the current pandemic with social isolation, loneliness and physical deconditioning due to the physical distancing and associated lockdown. The health of older people may be more influenced by their local outdoor environments and neighborhoods compared to other age groups as a result of decreased mobility. Designing active public/urban spaces to be inclusive of all ages is important to enable older people to actively engage in safe outdoor community and physical activities. Consequently, understanding the need of our ageing population is important to better target key areas of independent function to improve balance, strength, mobility and dexterity. This presentation will overview age friendly considerations for the design of recreational public spaces and associated outdoor equipment using research evidence.
Associate Professor Levinger (B.Ed, PhD) is known for her expertise in the area of age friendliness outdoor sites specifically designed for older people and currently works closely with government bodies in strategic development and planning around the built environment and public health impact. She leads the ENJOY Seniors Exercise Park project, an outdoor physical activity program for older people to improve their health and wellbeing, that has been recognised for its impact on the community as a VicHealth Award finalist for 2019 for Promoting Health through Physical Activity and Sport category.