The requirements of older people need to be given more attention when creating accessible environments, an expert has told Community Care Review.

“You need to take into consideration the needs of all ages including the needs of older people to create environments that are accessible [and] that take into consideration that some people might have sensory deficits or cognitive deficits. So you need spaces that are accessible, welcoming, inviting, easy to navigate, and enjoyable,” said Associate Professor Frances Batchelor – divisional director of clinical gerontology at the National Ageing Research Institute.

For example, entries to buildings should include ramps and steps with sharp contrast. “These are all good principles that support accessibility,” said Associate Professor Batchelor.

But she told CCR that we also need to think about the environment within. “So in buildings, having great signage that’s easy to understand and includes people who don’t speak English as their first language; and signage at an appropriate height so that older people who may have restrictions in their neck movements don’t have to look up,” said Associate Professor Batchelor.

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