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Acessibility in collective housing for the elderly: a case study in Portugal


Physical spaces need to be adjusted to suit the changes of a physical, cognitive and emotional order occasioned by the natural aging of people. Ergonomics of the built environment contributes to improving the interaction of the user and physical environment, with a view to their comfort and safety. By thinking through the influence that environments have on the quality of life of the elderly, this article presents an assessment of accessibility in private units - bedrooms and bathrooms – of a Long-Stay Institution for the Elderly (ILPI in Portuguese) in Portugal. The analysis of the physical and spatial conditioning factors by means of the Ergonomics Methodology for the Built Environment (EMBE), proposed by VILLAROUCO (2008), gave evidence of the need for interventions to suitably adapt physical infrastructure, with the objective of promoting the physical well-being of the elderly, and thus, enhancing the autonomy and independence of a wider range of users.