Accessible Design is often referred to as Universal Design or Barrier-Free Design. It is considered inclusive design and is meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, as well as people with and without disabilities.
The term Design for All (DfA) is used to describe a design philosophy targeting the use of products, services and systems by as many people as possible without the need for adaptation. Design for All is design for human diversity, social inclusion and equality.” (EIDD Stockholm Declaration, 2004)
Ambience Design Group seeks to design spaces that are flexible and adaptable to the changing needs of all people. Including accessibility considerations early in the design process is more cost-effective than making alterations after the fact.
Interior environments must respond to basic human functional needs—vision, hearing, stability, and mobility—to achieve both comfort and efficiency.
Some examples of accessible/barrier free designs:
- Cabinets with pull-out shelves
- Kitchen counters at several heights to accommodate different tasks and postures
- Components must be designed so that they require less than 5 pounds of force to operate
- Components that do not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist
- Wide interior doors (3’0″), hallways, and alcoves with 60″ × 60″ turning space at doors and dead-ends
- Lever handles for opening doors rather than twisting knobs
In any given environment, the user should be able to see easily, comfortably and accurately. The illumination level required to achieve these results will vary based on a number of factors related to the user and the given activity taking place. The illumination level required for most spaces and environments is a function of the following:
- the type of activity
- the characteristics of the visual task
- the age of the user
All physiological needs such as mobility affect how a person perceives and reacts to an environment. When these needs are appropriately met, the user will perceive the environment as successful.
As a senior 65 years or older in Ontario, you could qualify for a tax credit to help with the cost of making your home safer and more accessible. Download your guide below.