Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Holiday Work - Part 2

Observation 1
The elderly need supports to move from place to place, especially those with osteoporosis, which makes their bones weak. They are quite prone to falling and injuries. Therefore there should be more banisters near the areas where the floors are slippery, such as toilets. Currently, there are no banisters near the washroom areas, and some elderly people may slip if they do not manage to catch hold of a nearby sink or door. There could be metal banisters beside the sinks for the elderly to hold onto when they are entering or leaving the washrooms.

Observation 2
Some of the elderly may be experiencing eyesight problems, whereby they are not able to see signs when they are too small or the words are of a colour which cannot be seen clearly. Some danger signs may not be seen or the elderly may lose his/her way around large areas. Currently, there are many shopping centres without signs with large font, or the colours are not in contrast to the background.

Words on signs should be made larger, and their colours should be bright if they are on a dark background, and dark if they are on a light background. They could also be made to change colours or flash repeatedly.

Observation 3
Usually, there are only a few lifts in a shopping centre, and they are in a corner of the shopping centre. When there are many people in the shopping centre, during lunch and dinner time, the elderly may not have enough speed to get a place in the lifts. Sometimes, there are even escalators which are broken or are under repairs.

Although people are making effort to repair the lifts, the elderly would still have to climb stairs in order to reach the floor they want to go to. They may risk falling or would feel tired when they climb up the stairs. Their bones also may not be able to withstand the pressure applied when going up stairs.

In shopping centres, several elderly people were not quick enough to enter the lifts, and had to wait for a long period of time. I think that there should be more lifts for the elderly to travel u the floors if the shopping centre, or that lifts would be more spacious to fit more people. There could also be multiple escalators so in case one breaks down, there would still be another escalator.

Observation 4
There are limited reserved seats in the MRT and usually, younger people would take up the seats rather than standing and giving up the seat to an elderly. Many elderly people would have no choice but stand for lengths of time; this would not only put pressure on their knee bones, but they would also risk falling when the train starts or stops moving.

Since this is caused mainly by young people not willing not give up their seats, we should educate they younger generation about consideration for the elderly. There could also be more seats for the elderly in the train, or more supports, especially metal poles, for the elderly to hold onto. The poles could also have some rubber around it to increase friction slightly, so the elderly will be less prone to falling should they have to stand.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Elderly-Friendly Room

This is the floor plan of the bedroom. The bathroom cannot be seen in this picture. Everything is quite near to each other so the elderly can hold on to the objects for support or needs to travel only a short distance to reach an area.

The bed has supports in front so the elderly can hold on to them while getting on the bed. The front is brightly coloured so the elderly will not knock into it while walking past. There are barriers at the side so the elderly will not fall off the bed while sleeping, and it is at a strategic location so he/she is able to watch the television while sitting in bed.

The clothes poles are on two different levels, so the elderly can see which clothes there are on which pole and is able to organise the clothes with more ease as well.

The wardrobe is next to the bed so at night, the elderly may leave their walking sticks (if any) leaning on the door of the wardrobe, and in the morning, they would only need to travel a short distance to the wardrobe. The knobs on the doors are brightly coloured so the elderly would not bang into it and they are easy to grip and usable as a support as well as a doorknob. The inside of the door is brightly coloured so it would catch the elderly's attention and he/she would not forget to close the door.

Reading Table
There is a reading table and chair next to the bed for the elderly to read newspapers. The elderly can read at night before sleeping, and therefore would only need to travel a short distance to the bed, and if he/she chooses to watch television, to the sofas.

Television and Sofas
The sofas and tables are coloured in contrasting colours so the elderly will not be confused, or will not knock into them. There is an extra sofa for family members or visitors. The sofas are next to the bathroom for quick access.

This is a top view of the shower cubicle.

The items in the bathroom are placed so that the ones which the elderly is most likely to use is nearer to the door.

The bathtub is least likely to be used, thus it is placed at the back of the bathroom. It is of a low level and thus the elderly can climb into it with ease, and may use the neighbouring shower cubicle for support.

The door of the shower cubicle has a towel rack which can also be used as a support. It is next to the toilet bowl and tap so the elderly can hold on to it to get to them. It is coloured differently in contrast to the other components in the bathroom so the elderly would not knock into it.

The toilet bowl and tap are next to each other and also next to the door so the elderly can access it quickly. It is of suitable height for the elderly and the tap can be used as a support for the elderly to lower him/herself onto the toilet bowl.

This is the door of the bathroom. It is coloured differently compared to the bedroom door, so that the elderly would not be confused on which door to use.