SPARC BC’s Accessibility Tip # 100: Housing that works for everyone
While great strides have been made in creating accessible public spaces, there is a shortage of even minimally accessible private housing in Canada for people who want to “age in place” or who have reduced mobility. Newly constructed homes often contain the same major barriers as older, existing homes: steps at every entrance, narrow interior doors – with the bathroom door usually the narrowest door in the house!
While The National Building Code of Canada is concerned mainly with commercial properties and multi-family dwellings, many of its requirements are becoming more and more popular for single family residences, especially as the population ages. The words “accessibility” and “visitability” have a lot in common.
The visibility movement offers three key features to ensure that everyone, regardless of mobility, will be able to at least visit, use the washroom and exit the home: a zero step entrance at the front, back or side entrance; wider doorways on all main floors; and a half or full bath on the main floor. Other opportunities exist to enhance the visitability of a new residence. These include locating the bedroom(s) on the main level of a multi-level structure; locating the laundry on the main level; access to and ample space within the kitchen; and customizable designs to allow buyers the flexibility to alter homes for their best use. Visitability can be integrated into the home at the design phase of a new home to increase your options as your family’s needs change over time.
The building of accessible and visitable housing provides the opportunity for seniors and others with disabilities to remain living independently in their own homes and community.
For further information, please read the article retrieved from Accessibility News at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/?p=1393.
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