The Research of Universal Design for the solution of Regional problems with aging

The 2016 Universal Design International Seminar has obtained written consent from the speaker to publish the summarized and edited content

SPEAKER: Yoon Hye Gyung (Research Professor, Yonsei University, Korea)

Compared with global trends, Korean society is aging very rapidly. We are already entering a super-aged society, and we need to confront the seriousness of the issue. Aging is more prominent in rural areas, and the proportion of the elderly living alone is also increasing - the number is expected to increase steadily from 6.9% of the total households in 2013 to 15.4% in 2035. It should be noted that women account for 75 to 83% of these single-person households. Judging by these figures, future universal design should consider not only age-friendly design but women-friendly design as well.
The proportion of the aged population in the world and Korea in 1960-2060
In the same context, the retirement of Baby Boomers is also something we need to consider. The Baby Boom generation refers to people born during the period of rapid population growth after the Korean War. These are people who are currently middle-aged, who experienced Korea's industrialization and democratization in their youth, and have been the backbone of consumption and production in our society through the financial crisis in their adulthood. As these people retire in earnest between 2010 and 2018, the aging of the Korean population will proceed more rapidly, especially given the low fertility rate. ‘Active senior’ is a keyword that represents the baby boom generation. Active senior is a term that refers to active and independent older people, and includes consumers with economic power. They have a wide range of residential tastes, such as 'loT housing', 'staycation’ housing, 'fit sizing (10 pyeong)' and 'Nook space' and 'apartels’, which can be used like hotels. Aging in Place (AIP) was proposed as a concept to satisfy the requirements of these active seniors. AIP was proposed in the 1970s with the main goal of improving the quality of life of the elderly by overcoming the limitations of facility housing. This stems from the characteristic that today's older people live in facilities and place importance on quality of life and a proactive life at home rather than being passively managed. Aging in Place (AIP) should be considered from the perspective of universal design for community planning for remodeling suited to the elderly while living in a self-contained residential space, with preparations made for safety and accessibility.

the Chuncheon area among small and medium sized cities that are aging.

[UD Survey and Field Survey in of elderly residents residing in Chuncheon Area] Chuncheon is a city with a population of 278,682 (as of April 2016), which is about 3% of the population of Seoul, and its area is 1,116 square kilometers, which is about 1.8 times that of Seoul. From April 23 to May 29, 2016, 39 households were surveyed and assessed in terms of the universal design of their interior environment to identify problems and explore the practical application of universal design. As a result of the on-site investigation, a number of problems were identified in each area of the residential space for the elderly, and the details are as follows. 1. Entrance: Most of the front doors of residential spaces for the elderly did not have an effective width of 1200mm or more, and the windproofing of the front door was 15mm or more, making it impossible for wheelchairs to pass. There were no handrails or chairs installed at the entrance, no devices to identify visitors, and no door closers installed. 2. Living room: The floor finishing material in the living room was slippery and there was a risk of a fall, and the handle of the window was not lever-type or the handle position was high, which made it less accessible. There were many households where it was difficult for users to control lighting and there were no sensor lights installed, making it very difficult to see when moving at night.

3. Bedroom: The bedroom does not have a space wider than 900mm, which is the turning radius of a wheelchair, and there is no variable device to adjust the height of storage cabinets. Like in the living room, there is a risk of a falls due to the slippery flooring. The lighting control devices and the device to call a carer in case of an emergency were also insufficient. 4. Bathroom: In the bathroom, the effective width of the door was less than 850mm, so access for wheelchair users was restricted, and there was no space for wheelchair rotation in the bathroom. The high threshold and step hindered not only wheelchair users but also general users, and there were no emergency alarms, lighting devices, and handrails installed, so some users installed an additional handle to improve usability.

In addition, the stairs, kitchens, corridors and main entrances, where numerous hazardous factors exist, were not designed in consideration of the convenience or safety of the elderly who are the main occupants of the housing. It made it clear how the elderly experience various difficulties in their daily life due to insufficient facilities. [Improvements to Universal Design for Senior Residents] The results of these surveys and field surveys emphasize the necessity of creating solutions that fit each individual's ability, physical condition, and lifestyle, rather than simply introducing overseas universal design cases. The universal design of the residential space does not end with a one-time, single solution to the space, but it should be planned step-by-step and continuously so that the space can be used continuously. Based on the field survey, we propose the following four directions for the improvement of the universal design of housing for the elderly. 1. Universal Design (UD) to improve hand accessibility - Kitchen shelf, storage shelf, multipurpose room shelf: 76.2mm below standard height or pull-down shelf; side by side refrigerators that are easier to acces than upper and lower door refrigerators. - Easy to use side swing ovens with control buttons on the front - It must be possible to move the shower vertically according to the user's height, and a fixture must be installed. - When installing a peephole on the front door, it is desirable to install two in consideration of the user's position. - Use a laundry drying rack with adjustable height - The kitchen and wardrobe should be equipped with drawers, boxes, and baskets for storage, so it is convenient to take out things to store them. - Electrical outlets should be installed 500~850mm from the floor. 2. Universal Design (UD) with small hands, flexibility and less physical force - U-shaped/D-shaped door handles for cupboards and drawers are easier to grip - When moving things from one burner to another, there is no danger when the burner cover of the gas range is the same height. - When using the washing machine, install it with a base about 200mm so that the user does not have to bend down.. - For faucets, if a lever type is used, less force is required to turn it. - Installation of handrails for safety around showers, toilets, and bathtubs - Conveniently adjustable toilets for wheelchair users - Installing a bathtub chair, shower chair, or folding chair, allows the user to sit down to shower so they do not have to bend down. - The lever-type door handle makes it easy to push or grab the door - Light switches that use rocker switches are easier to operate 3. Universal design (UD) for easy movement - Secure the effective width of the door to 1200mm or more - No steps, or plan for any step difference to be less than 300mm - Use of non-slip floor coverings - The color or texture of the flooring material should be different in the part where there is a step difference. - The height of stair risers should be less than 180mm and the width of stepping boards should be about 280mm. - Install handrails on both sides of stairs, hallways and ramps - Install foot lighting on the stairs so that the stepping board is clearly visible even at night - A ramp for the quick evacuation of the elderly in case of emergency is planned in parallel with the stairs. - Plan so that the tread and riser are uniform on a any flight of stairs. 4. Universal design (UD) for vision - Use light bulbs with high wattage - The operation button that designed for easy understanding - Install lighting in closets - Adequate lighting in hallways, stairs and entrances - Install night lights in hallways, stairs and doorways - Reduce the risk with partial lighting on kitchen workbenches. - Appropriate use of color for direction signs - Plan emergency exits in a well-visible location - Adequate lighting installed near the mailbox As our society becomes an aging society, the number of seniors living alone is also increasing, and unlike the past, when facility housing was common, the proportion of the elderly staying in self-sufficient housing has increased rapidly. We must continue to study with interest in the housing types and facilities of the elderly population in the future. If we strive to generalize the application of universal design throughout society and spread basic attempts to improve the residential environment and facilities for the elderly, a residential space that meets the ergonomic needs of the elderly population with limited physical ability will be achieved in the future. We will be able to solve local problems smoothly.

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