Universal Design: Simplified | Chapter 10
If the community presents challenges, we’ll have a big segment of our population weary of leaving their homes.Here’s the point: We want people to live active and healthy lives as long as possible, which includes getting out of the home environment and into society by being part of the community. If an individual is comfortable and feels confident in managing needs in their own home, he/she will likely be more willing to venture out into the community with similar confidence. However, if the community presents challenges and difficulty, that confidence will be shattered, and we’ll have a big segment of our population weary of leaving their homes. This is why universal design is important for places in the community. Here are a handful of examples…
- The restaurant has one entrance with five steps to get inside, and arthritis has limited grandpa’s ability to climb stairs safely.
- The gym doesn’t have room for a wheelchair to fit between the workout equipment/machines, or even offer equipment for those with physical disabilities to utilize.
- The Parks and Recreation department (tax-funded!) does not have staff that are knowledgable in integrating children with autism into their programs.
- The door to get into the bookstore is really heavy with knobs that are hard to turn with one hand and limited balance after a stroke.
- The retreat center where the ladies event is being held does not have a cabin with bathroom doorways big enough for a wheelchair to get through, and all the bedrooms are on the second floor of the building.
- The large grocery store does not offer motorized carts, or wheelchairs for individuals that have decreased energy and/or difficulty to walking long distances.
Little things make a big difference.If people aren’t comfortable with how they move and interact with their environment at home, then they sure aren’t going to go out into public, especially alone. The risk of getting stuck somewhere without the assistance needed is too great. We need universal design everywhere. It just makes sense if we truly care about our friends, family, and neighbors.[bookpagefooter]