Forum on Design and Accessibility for Seniors
Over 50 seniors advocates, policy makers, and service providers joined us on August 24 to discuss the recreational needs of seniors and their caregivers. We talked about the importance of design that takes the aging process into account, and how to best incorporate the skills and wisdom of seniors into all aspects of potential new programming.
On the design side, we heard how putting water fountains in alcoves or not leaving enough space around ramps to allow for people to turn around can create barriers for those who use wheelchairs or walkers. We were told that raised garden beds are essential, as are changing spaces that are large enough for individuals and their caregivers.
The participants had some specific suggestions for programming as well. Inter-generational opportunities that connect youth and seniors were a high priority, as were programs that are specifically created to help isolated seniors meet and socialize with their peers.
“It is vital that we design and program not just for seniors who are healthy and well, but for those also for those who are unwell and in need of more support,”said Barbaar Michalik, Director of Programs for the Rekai Centres. “They deserve recreation and programming. It’s just a matter of planning and designing for it.”