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“Can I reach the tissue box?”: A literature synthesis on the role of location and interior built environment in independent grocery shopping by older adults

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The design of community and built environments is integrally linked to independence, participation, and mobility for older adults. This capstone project reviews literature that explores the accessibility of grocery stores based on their location within the community and their interior built environments. The results indicate a trend towards fewer grocery stores in areas of low SES and population density, and they identify barriers and facilitators related to shelving, signage, labels, way finding, aisles, lighting, noise level, flooring, shopping carts, in store seating, lighting, and check outs. The evidence highlights issues such as income, availability of transportation, the utility of universal design features, to promote independence in grocery shopping for older adults who wish to age in place. This paper builds upon Lawton and Nahemow’s Ecological model of Aging and proposes a conceptual model that shows how location and interior-built environments are linked to independent grocery shopping.
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