User-friendly homes for the elderly and people with disabilities
NEW DELHI: Builders are now thinking for the elderly and the handicapped people while designing their new projects.
Builders and developers likes of Ansal Unitech, DLF, Tata Housing, SVP Developers, etc, are designing their residential, even commercial buildings, to make them accessible and user-friendly for the elderly and aging people.
You too can look after the needs of your old parents or family members with a physical handicap. Mind you, you will not have to spend huge sums to become a caring son or daughter in making life easier for your close relatives and provide some basic facilities in your home.
Rakesh Monga, an architect and a teacher, says that if there are senior citizens in the family, you must make a few advance plans before taking up the construction of your house. An architect can give you advice on the needs of the elderly members of the family.
A barrier-free design with easy and convenient passage to different sections of the home is crucial. Basically, the aged family members must be provided an obstruction-free movement.
"The room of your parents or elderly members in the family should be well ventilated and the windows should come with easy-to-handle shutters and curtain strings. Storage facilities in the room like almirahs and cupboards must be designed in a manner that they do not need much stretching or exertion in their operation," says J K Jain, a Delhi-based architect.
"You can also provide them handrails wherever possible including along staircase, in the bathroom, the kitchen and on the way to the entrance. This will offer support in their movement. Adequate attention must be paid to the placement of the switches to operate lights, fans and other appliances," Jain says.
The night lamp, television and fan or airconditioner controls must be located within arm's reach from the bed, so that there is no demand for much physical movement. Jain also says that telephone cable points must be positioned in such a way that the instrument can be placed close to where the elderly or handicapped members sit or sleep; also, take care to see that there is not much cable hanging along to trip one.
There is even greater need to look after the comforts of disabled members of the family. Najma Rizvi, formerly of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi , says that even though the real estate sector has taken huge strides in India, yet, not many real estate firms make buildings that are user-friendly for the elderly and the handicapped members.