An environmental assessment of Divine Providence Home in Lusaka, Zambia

  • Yvonne Matebele Sichingabula Private Consultant/Researcher, Zambia


This paper examines the physical and social environment of Divine Providence Home (DPH), a residential care facility for older persons in Lusaka, Zambia. It also assesses the homes future function and capacity in anticipation of an increasing demand for admissions as a result of AIDS-related deaths, whereby numerous older persons will be left without traditional support. An assessment of the physical environment of the home showed that in the planning and design of the home, neither people knowledgeable in gerontology nor prospective users were involved in the three steps of programming; as a result, problems which residents of advanced age may experience were not taken into account in the design and less physically competent residents were found to experience environmental press. An assessment of the social environment showed that the residents suffered boredom but also lacked initiative to start programmes to interest them; they preferred to wait for the appointment of a programme officer, yet are capable of organizing social and income-generating activities themselves. It is proposed that residential care facilities be designed at the outset to meet the needs of residents whose physical and mental capacity will decline with advanced age. It is also proposed that the residents at DPH be encouraged to arrange their own social programme, rather than wait for the appointment of a programme officer.


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