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  • Author or Editor: Nigel Walford x
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This chapter looks at the mechanisms and strategies used by older people to navigate unfamiliar spaces as pedestrians. Based on interviews with forty-two older people collecting both quantitative and qualitative data, a street audit and interviews with planners, three principal factors helped or deterred older people in navigating an unfamiliar urban setting – the use of landmarks, the availability and usability of signage and if a public space was associated with memories. Stressful areas were identified as those where there was a perception of sensory overload and shared and unclear spaces. The implications for planners are discussed with regard to creating spaces and places that assist older people to remain active and independent.

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This chapter presents a comprehensive introduction to the major gerontological topic of participation and social connectivity based on eleven separate NDA projects. Looking at Brazil, India, and South Africa, the chapter begins with a summary of the critical importance of participation to health and well-being in later life. It challenges negative stereotypes of ageing and older people, such as declining participation. It shows that older people do participate and are often tenacious in this but they are often confronted with multiple barriers that prevent them from doing so. The chapter concludes by citing examples on how to improve meaningful participation in later life, which ranges from community arts to literature.

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