Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 17, Tuesday, October 7, 2003





accessible homes designing for disability

HOUSES and apartment buildings are being built to last a lifetime. But our bodies and minds change throughout our lives, whether through illness or old age, we face varying degrees of disability. Homes should allow for the changing nature of human conditions from childhood to old age. Designing for disability is something rarely discussed or designed.

Some families through their own personal experiences have incorporated changes in their homes for easy accessibility. When faced with the situation of not being able to bring the wheelchair into the bathroom they made sure the bathroom doors were wide enough for a wheel chair to pass through in their future home.

It is important to create a home accessible for the unexpected challenges in the future. Whether through stroke, ill health, accidents or old age, we one time or another face long term or short term disability either ourselves or a member of our family. The home is where one should feel comfortable and carry out activities without the need to depend on others. All people should be able to retain their dignity and feel in control of their lives.

Simple design solutions such as designing doorways and passageways wide enough for a wheel chair to pass through create a more accessible home. Door openings should be at least 3ft. wide to permit passage of a wheelchair or a person using crutches. Floors should be non-slip and on one level. With long term disability people are more often than not housebound. Therefore it is important to have low level windows or verandahs to look out onto the streets.

Large easy to grab doorknobs and lever type handles on doors and cupboards will also help for easy accessibility. Bathrooms can be designed or remodeled with wall mounted grab bars on shower or bath areas. In the kitchen area the drawers can have smooth draw slides which will make the drawers move more easily. These are some minor design changes that can be incorporated for a more accessible home.

For further details / information on this article or previous articles, contact Architect Rumana Malik at email: afmalik@bangla.net














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