designacube’s Accessible Series of homes cater for seniors who wish to “age in place” and the needs of disabled persons.
A growing trend among senior citizens to “age in place” reflects a desire to retain independence for as long as possible. Adaptations for seniors take into account the most common physical impairments affecting the elderly. For example, a common cause of serious injury for seniors is falling inside the home. Adding handrails and grab bars throughout the home, particularly in bathrooms, helps reduce the risk of falling. Other adaptations that improve accessibility for seniors include: easy-to-reach work and storage areas in the kitchen; lever handles on doors; raised power outlets; larger light switches; toilet seat risers; automated smart home functions; walk-in showers; bathtub and shower seats etc.
Household needs vary over time in relation to physical capabilities. Most people can expect temporary or permanent variations in their physical capabilities in their life due to injury, illness or age. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that the percentage of individuals with a disability increases significantly with age, rising to more than 50% of people aged over 60. Longer life spans and higher proportions of older people in our society make it more likely that every home will be required to respond to the needs of a person with a physical limitation whether they are the primary resident or a visitor.
For those with limited mobility, reduced vision or other impairment, the ability to perform common tasks such as carrying shopping into the home, cooking a meal, using the bathroom or accessing items from high shelves may be unnecessarily limited by the physical design of a home. As the needs of individuals are specific to their personal circumstances there is no single solution to designing a home to meet changing needs; however, several approaches exist.
Accessible houses are designed to meet the needs of people requiring higher level access from the outset, and usually designed and built with a specific person’s needs in mind. An accessible house meets Australian Standard AS 1428.1-2001, Design for access and mobility, and is able to accommodate wheelchair users in all areas of the dwelling.