The purpose of the study was to explore the environmental preferences of Filipino older adults to give the younger generation of Filipinos, especially younger family members, caregivers and environmental planners and designers, a better understanding and appreciation of their needs.
The study aimed to answer three questions: 1) do gender, age, and profession make a difference in their choices? 2) what are the environmental preferences of older adults? 3) what factors contribute to their environmental preferences?
Utilizing a purposive sampling method, taken were 120 respondents – 53 males and 66 females - 50 years old and above (50-59, 60-69, 70-over), professionals (educators, engineers and businessmen) and residents of Metro Manila. A 30-item researcher-developed questionnaire was validated and pre tested. It described place settings as generally inside/enclosed and outside/open environments.
The total mean scores of respondents by gender, age, and education were subjected to t-test. No significant differences in the total mean scores were found between the female and male respondents, and among the three age groups.
Generally, the three age-groups (50-59, 60-69, 70-over) expressed preference for both inside and outside environment but at different levels. On one hand, the total mean scores for the outside / open environment of the educators are significantly higher at .002, than those in the business sector. However, no differences were found between the educators and the engineers, and between the engineers and those in the business sector. On the other hand, for the inside/enclosed environment, no significant differences were found between and among all groups.
The home topped the list of preferred environment by the three groups. The home, says Frumkin (2005), must be designed and built as to be attractive and functional for people who live, work, learn and play in them. The above result may well infer that the respondents’ homes must have responded to a home’s primary purpose of providing a place for security, relaxation, entertainment, and other activities. Given that satisfaction with the home environment has been linked with the psychological well-being among the elderly (Christensen, 1987), a home specially modified to meet their needs would create a supportive environment which is essential in assisting them achieve their goal of aging in place (National Resource Center, 2001).
The concept of home has been the focus of research within the paradigm of environmental research within the last three decades (Moore, 2000). However, there seems to be a lack of critical or innovative theories and methods to examine this concept. More studies, especially on the experiential, psychological, and socio-cultural dimensions of the home should be encouraged.
It is worth noting that the waterfall found a significant niche as a preferred setting by the respondents. This finding brings to the fore the issue on how society values nature. Now-a-days, defining environmental values has become a big concern in environmental psychology and research, and environmental management (Reser & Bentrupperbaumer, 2005). In line with this, some questions beg to be answered: What is the status of the Philippine waterfalls? To what extent do the Filipino society and the government value and conserve the nation’s natural resources? Will the next generations also find the waterfalls, or the natural environment for that matter, a preferred setting when they reach their golden years?