Aging/Gerontology, Healthcare, News

Housing for Older Adults with Physical Limitations

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

I came across this article on housing for seniors/older adults with high needs in London, Ontario. Everything about the housing unit is for an individual who is in a wheelchair and has physical disabilities. Wide doorways, low light switches, a shower built for a wheelchair to roll right in, doors that slide open so one in a wheelchair can tuck under the sink to wash the dishes. Bathroom counters designed for a wheelchair to fit under it.

Those of us that are mobile while walking on two legs take for granted the fact that we can look out the window. Imagine being in a wheelchair and not being able to do that. The housing includes lower windows, angled doors to allow ease of the wheelchair going from room to room.

The housing is also near shopping and other amenities and bus routes. The curb is lower to allow one to get in and out of a car easier and into a wheelchair or for those that have electric scooters to go up on the curb. Most importantly it is in a regular neighborhood and the house is designed as such that from the outside it looks like any home a nuclear family would live in.

If this concept can exist for older adults with special needs or physical limitations, why not for other segments of the population? Imagine being a mom pushing a stroller, carrying groceries and having to go up stairs to enter an apartment building or house? A ramp would be very helpful.

A quote from the article, “We have to look at different ways of how we manage our health care. We need to focus on home and community care to figure out how we can develop services that are more flexible and can change quickly as people’s needs change quickly. This house has a lot of opportunities for how we can support people in the future.”

http://www.lfpress.com/2012/11/28/a-new-london-home-for-people-with-high-needs-could-be-the-template-for-housing-an-aging-population

* First posted on: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org