The role of bedroom privacy in social interaction among elderly residents in nursing homes: An exploratory case study of Hong Kong

Aria C.H. Yang, Newman Lau, Jeffrey C.F. Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Privacy is often overlooked in Hong Kong nursing homes with the majority of elderly residents living in shared bedrooms of three to five people. Only a few studies have used Bluetooth low energy indoor positioning systems to explore the relationship between privacy and social interaction among elderly residents. The study investigates the social behavioural patterns of elderly residents living in three-bed, four-bed, and five-bed rooms in a nursing home. Location data of 50 residents were used for the identification of mobility and social interaction patterns in relation to different degrees of privacy and tested for statistical significance. Privacy is found to have a weak negative correlation with mobility patterns and social behaviour, implying that the more privacy there is, the less mobility and more formal interaction is found. Residents who had more privacy did not spend more time in social space. Residents living in bedrooms that opened directly onto social space had higher social withdrawal tendencies, indicating the importance of transitional spaces between private and public areas. Friends’ rooms were used extensively by residents who had little privacy, however, the concept of friends’ rooms have rarely been discussed in nursing homes. There is evidence supporting the importance of privacy for social interaction. Future study directions include considering how other design factors, such as configuration and social space diversity, work with privacy to influence social interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4101
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2020


  • Elderly residents
  • Indoor location tracking
  • Nursing home
  • Privacy
  • Social interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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