|VOL. 2, NO. 2
The trend toward a more elderly America is creating changes in living conditions. Living independently is most appealing. However. living independently Is difficult for people suffering from permanent or temporary physical limitations because they need a barrier-free environment. For many this means a possible move from a single-family residence to a multifamily dwelling. or to a dwelling with medical care and surveillance. Unfortunately, current buildings do not respond to physical and psychological needs. CFH partners realize that designing for these needs requires sensitivity. The architectural design must focus on and encompass the changes that occur in the aging process. A sensitive design can decrease a sense of disorientation and vulnerability In residents. Three main areas to consider are: physical, psychological, and social changes. This article concerns physical changes.
MOBILITY We take for granted our ability to move freely, to roam about our homes, office or favorite shopping mall. For the elderly person, 55-104 years old, sitting. walking, standing and turning can be slow and painful. CFH designs both interior and exterior facilities that accommodate mobility problems. Examples are: increase door widths to allow for wheel chair movement, crutches, walkers or canes. Placement of furniture, appliances. wall receptacles, and bathroom fixtures to enhance mobility.
|STRENGTH Simple every day tasks like turning on a faucet, opening a door or cooking a meal may not be simple for many elderly. Facilities designed by CFH support independence in these areas. Light switches are lower for easier reach. Doors and faucets have levers rather than knobs. This is especially helpful For arthritic individuals. Oven controls are placed in front and counters are lowered for easier use.|| or 2% of the
total project, must have special designs for the visual and hearing Impaired.
These units must allow for safety systems (fire and emergency calls) to be heard
and seen. Smoke detectors are designed with a horn instead of a buzzer. The
system also includes flashing strobe lights to warn the hearing impaired person.
TACTILE SENSITIVITY Many elderly individuals cannot tell the difference between hot and cold. To help increase environment awareness, CFH suggests textured surfaces for touch sensitivity, and temperature control valves at all tubs, showers and sinks .
SMELL While some physical functions decrease in ability others can increase. Some elderly people become more aware of odors. Others can't smell toast burning. This is why the smoke alarm becomes so Important. CFH places emphasis on smoke alarm systems and building site orientation to help those with olfactory difficulties. Life expectancy Is Increasing. With that increase is the need for building changes that help elderly Individuals make the transition from their single family home to other facilities. CFH helps these residents continue to maintain an independent life style for the longest possible period. CFH projects like Bartlett Homes and Bethel Manor are two facilities which reflect the barrier-free environment. Because when it absolutely. positively has to be done right CFH is there.
| VISUAL Can you imagine the
inability to distinguish between the wall and floor? Elderly residents with
Impaired vision often have this inability and become disoriented in a room or
hall with one color. CFH has found that a floor border helps. Bright colored
walls and doors also help residents Identity building locations. Braille
markings on stoves and elevators allow the visually impaired additional freedom.
Our homes may use 60 or 75 watt bulbs. In contrast CFH recommends 150 watt
illumination when designing for the elderly.
HEARING CFH keeps abreast of government mandates. One requirement states a minimum of one unit,