Throughout the UK, more than 300,000 disabled individuals are on waiting lists for suitable housing and must, in the meantime, make do with living conditions that do not meet their needs. This is something that has simply got to change – and thanks to the strides that many new property developers are taking, it is.
Although many property and housing developers are designing and building homes that are easy to adapt if the residents should become disabled, there is still a ways to go. The truth of the matter is that plenty of builders still aren’t really giving much thought to what disabled residents need.
So, what do disabled residents need when it comes to housing? Often, it is something really simple such as wider doorways and hallways fit to accommodate a wheelchair, lower kitchen and bathroom countertops, ranges and sinks that can be used from a seated position, and light switches and electrical outlets that are easily reachable from a wheelchair. These concerns are often on the minds of disabled residents, but may also become concerns for most of us as we age.
In an effort to make homes more suitable for disabled individuals, today’s modern housing developments are building what is known as the ‘lifetime home’, and it goes well beyond simply installing grab bars in the shower and ramps at each entryway. Developers are now designing homes that don’t look institutional or medicinal – they have lots of ‘curb appeal’ but are at the same time highly functional for disabled residents.
Modern design focuses on several factors to ensure that homes are easily adaptable for someone that is, or becomes, disabled. These factors include equitable use, flexibility, simple and intuitive design, low physical effort, and ample size and space to accommodate walkers, wheelchairs, and other devices the disabled may require.
Of course, it is the small details that are making the biggest differences – that pot-filling faucet over the range often found in upscale kitchens can be a game changer for someone with a disability. Or, what about a closet rod that pulls down for easy access to clothing and items on the top shelf?
Unfortunately, many homes that have been remodelled to accommodate someone with a disability actually do not enhance the person’s life – it may make things even more difficult. When you’re at home, you should have freedom, not confinement, and that’s what housing developers like Hamilton King are offering disabled residents. Hamilton King offers a number of new homes that are both accessible and adaptable, all set within a community that offers a number of amenities for both its disabled and non-disabled residents.
Disabled residents shouldn’t have to worry about how accessible their home is or is not. Those residents without disabilities shouldn’t have to worry if it will be expensive or difficult to adapt their home should they become disabled as they age. Housing should be designed and built with these things in mind – and thanks to new principles of thinking and community planning, many new homes are meeting this need.