Insufficient lighting, or artificial lighting that casts strong shadows or create glare, can exacerbate safety issues by concealing or partially obscuring objects that are on the floor or in someone's path of travel.
Having a clear pathway into and inside the home is important, but being totally at ease inside the home is part of the overall accessibility design. People need to be able to reach easily and comfortably anything that they need to enjoy that home - appliances, windows, thermostats, light switches, plumbing fixtures, faucets, closet shelves, door handles, cabinet pulls, and other objects that they might want. Their physical size, strength, range of motion or reach, and whether they are seated or standing should not matter. This truly presents a picture of residential accessibility.
Our challenge in evaluating someone's living space - or even looking at our own homes - is checking the viability of them in allowing for anyone living in or coming into that living environment to use and enjoy all of the items in that home that they might have occasion to use for activities of daily living, for interacting with others in the home, for moving about inside the home and going between rooms, and for maintaining their personal comfort.
Access is a large concept that has many aspects to it. It is so much more that just being able to enter a space and affects how well someone can use a home after gaining access to it. It accounts for any mobility, sensory, or cognitive limitations they may have and also considers any challenges the home presents in allowing full access.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.