Barrier and Risk Free Environments for Older People. a Survey Applied to State Provided Units in Chile, the Need of a New Policy Approach

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Marcela PIZZI , History and Heritage Institute, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
Increasing ageing and urbanization are two tendencies which together characterize the 21st century as an unprecedent demographic revolution. In this context a large proportion of older people, particularly in Latin America, will live in vulnerable social, economic and cultural conditions in inadequate habitats which should be addressed by public policies. The effects of the built environment has been the less attendend in Chile, despite its relevant impact in both the physical and perceptual dimensions of life affecting its quality reflected in inclusion, social participation, autonomy and independence of this age group. Adequate habitability of housing and urban space should be provided allowing aging in place as long as possible. Up top date senior policies in Chile have focused in providing housing for those unsheltered through the provision of new units which have not considered the needs of older persons. Considering than more than 80% of seniors in Chile own their homes(SENAMA-INTA 2010); the addition of public policies focusing in improvement of existing housing is relevant. Considering the high accident and mortality figures related predominantly to falls due to aspects of the built environment and the high personal and economic costs for families and the medical assistance system, design issues become relevant issues.

This paper presents findings related to the design and use of an evaluation instrument developed for the detection of risks and barriers in a sample of housing provided by the State of Chile, using objective and subjective techniques. (Direct observation of performance of Basic Activities of Daily Living, (BADL), focus groups regarding findings and dimensional evaluation both of users and spatial conditions). Findings refelected barriers and risks mainly associeted with Mobility, in around 30% of BADL operations, due to inadequate object and or architectural design mostly related with height, presence of uneveness or lack of elements.