Today I went to check up on a couple of people from here who have moved into a beautiful brand new multi million tax dollar built care residence. I was shocked by a series of unbelievable design decisions that are clearly mistakes, that will cost a good deal more dollars to fix, if they get fixed at all. I am wondering who didn't think through the design implications for these elderly people?
It's bad enough that none of the rooms had phones hooked up before they were moved in, and for people limited in mobility and access to mobile phones, they have really been cut off from their families. They are also getting bored because the cable TV hasn't yet been hooked up. Now ok, either of these things I can justify as some early new building growing pains sort of things.
But the design fails or elder insensitivity I just shook my head at?
- Extra high ceilings and carpet less floors so now they can't hear each other when they sit and play games because their voices echo and bounce around the room so badly.
- Closets with high placed bars in them that very few can reach to hang their clothing on.
- Electronic thermostats in each room that NO ONE can figure out how to work and there are no instructions for them and even the staff can't adjust them.
- Big metal blinds on each room window that are so heavy that the elderly can't pull them up or let them down so they peek out between the slats to see outside.
- Perhaps the biggest design flaw was the meal time. In the previous place their meals were set before them at the table they sat at, awaiting their lunch. Now it's cafeteria style, and all the aged people have to get up and line up and take a tray with their hot food and drinks back to their tables and sit down to eat.
I happened to pass by one of the dinning areas as I was leaving the place and I couldn't believe it. The line threaded around the side of the room, and all but two were pushing walkers or in wheelchairs they pushed themselves, or even with crutches. How do you hold a tray in a wheelchair or holding a walker? How do you get your hot water or coffee back to the table without dumping it on yourself?
It was as if the designer had never been around anyone over 60 before.
The disappointment is that it is such a beautiful building and a great place to spend a few years, except that it seems no one was thinking. That is really frustrating. I know these people have been waiting a long time for this new place to live in because the old place was very, well, old. But at least it fit who they are, and didn't mock their limited abilities.
Ok that's enough for now. Let's see what they do to fix this.