Its Pretty, But Does It Work?

sachabros photoI saw something yesterday which attests to how important the Interior Design profession is.

A thin man of advanced age struggled to keep his balance on a flight of stairs up to a doctor’s office, his right hand grasping the nearest handrail and the fingers of his left curled around a cane.  With great exertion he lifted one foot.  His leg lurched in various directions.  He stabbed down with his white sneaker several times before settling it on the first step.  He shifted his weight and repeated the process with the second foot while his arched frame swayed from lack of balance.  He was like Bambi using his legs for the first time.  I stayed to help, but then wondered if his dignity required that he do it himself.  Unsure, I waited, ready to spring to the rescue.

Ironically he risked injury to see a doctor.

It took him about 5 minutes to reach the top step, the one just before the landing where a beautiful basket of flowers blocked his path.  Had he visual impairment he may have continued and lost balance.  He had no choice but to let go of the handrail to go around.  For a heart-stopping moment he swayed like a leaf in the wind.  With great effort he did reach the landing.  Ironically, he risked injury to see a doctor.

He easily could have fallen and fractured bones, such as his hip.  A hip fracture is an unfortunate but common injury that can be life-threatening.  A downward spiral, a broken hip has the potential for complications that may arise when aging adults are confined to bed.  “Because you’re immobilized, you’re lying in bed, you can’t move, you tend to get more urinary tract infections, you get more pneumonia because you can’t get up and clear your lungs, you get pressure sores, and you get blood clots,” says Dr. Michael Dunbar, an orthopedic surgeon in Halifax Canada.

“Aesthetics are an important component of any interior design project but a professional interior designer focuses on much more than appearance.”

A public building must be accessible to all persons, including the ever-growing number with disabilities like the elderly man above with mobility and strength impairment.  An Interior Designer knows this, and would not place a hazard in the path of travel.  As stated on the Interior Designer’s Institute (IDI) website: “Aesthetics are an important component of any interior design project but a professional interior designer focuses on much more than appearance.  Public health, safety and welfare (HSW) are an interior designer’s first priorities.”