Effectiveness Audit Accessibilities for Senior Citizen Comfortability

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Lacking in accessible environment will restrict elderly and disabled person to enjoy their life (Tan, 2008). Person with disabilities (PWDs) will limit by the physical barriers in a building. Therefore, it is necessary to study ways to improve the level of accessibility in buildings for the elderly and disabled people in the built environment, especially in hospital and retirement centre. This paper tends to identify the level of accessibility in hospital and residences buildings in Selangor, Malaysia. This study comprises literature review, data collection, observations and table research to explore on how to achieve friendly and comfortable access for all especially elderly and disabled. This study tends to fill the gap of the previous study on the accessibility of senior citizen and disables. The findings will allow the building provider to upgrade existing facilities in order to accommodate accessible built environment for the elderly and disabled people. Findings revealed that weaknesses found are caused by poor design, lack of policies and regulation as well as limited guidelines. Final part of this paper provides some recommendation in proposed guidelines in respect to the person with disabilities (PWDs) needs.

Keywords: Accessibility, Person with disabilities (PWDs), Built environment


Malaysia is a developing country with a population of 29.62 million in year 2013. Out of this 29.62 million, 1.56 million – 2.75 million are those elderly and people with disabilities (PWDs). Although the population of Malaysia is considered younger than others developed countries, however the ageing population is increasing year to year resulted from fertility decline. It is proven from the Statistics of Malaysia that ageing population is increasing around 5% each year. According to a previous study, it is estimated that the population of ageing and elderly will increase to 15% of the nation population in the year 2030. Health care and residences buildings take on special significance as the rapid increasing of ageing and disabled in our society is widely recognized nowadays. As the elderly and disabled population grows, it is increasingly important to find a more efficient service for this group. This study can be a guideline for architecture, developer as well as government agency in preparing the act and regulation in built environment. This study highlighted that accessible design must make buildings more approaching and easier for entering and using. In conjunction to this, an accessible design must integrate with the interior and exterior of building elements. In other words, an accessible design should able provide a high level of safety life and should allow people to perform their daily life and activity more freely. Lastly, accessible design must integrate with a building's function, layout as well as form. This seminar paper will discuss about the effectiveness and procedure to conduct access audit for disabled comfortable. The final objective of this writing is to appraise and find another approach to provide a pleasant access audit. In order to provide accessible environment for ageing and elderly, it is important to understand various group of person with disabilities. Basically person with disabilities can be divided into four major categories which are orthopaedic, sensory, cognitive and multiple.


This category is the people who are suffering orthopaedic disabilities such as locomotor disabilities.


This group of person with disabilities refers to people with sensory disabilities in terms of either hearing or visual. However, this group of people usually come in both which mean they will suffer both.


People in this group refer to them who are suffering mental sickness such as development or learning disabilities.


Multiple refer to those who are suffering with the combination of orthopaedic, sensory and/or cognitive disabilities.


Elderly or senior citizens refer to those who are at age of higher than average life span of human. However, there is no formal boundary age for elderly and senior citizens. It is vary from each nation on how the nation defined the boundary for elderly and senior citizens. In Malaysia, elderly or senior citizens are those who are in age of 60 years old and above while person with disabilities are those who are suffering problem in term of orthopaedic, sensory, cognitive as well as combination of these three. In order to protect the person with disabilities, Malaysia government has introduced Persons with Disabilities Act (PWDA) in 2008. In the year 2006, around two hundred thousand of disabled people have been registered under the Department of Social Welfare Malaysia (DSW).

Graph 1 Population of Elderly and Disabled Person in Malaysia and Australia in 2009

Source: Wellness National Data 2009 - Institute of Gerontology, UPM


Graph 2 Aging Populations in Malaysia from 1970 to 2020

Source: Department of Statistics, Malaysia


In order to protect person with disabilities, Malaysia government has introduced Malaysia Standards on Disabled Person (MS) in 2002 and a more recent and powerful one which is Persons with Disabilities Act (PWDA) in 2008. Malaysia Standards on Disabled Person (MS) in 2002 is focusing on providing comfort environment and facilities for disabled person in Malaysia. However, this is just a standard but not acts, therefore some refuse to follow the guidelines or the Standards. Therefore in 2008, Malaysia government introduced the Persons with Disabilities Act (PWDA). Part of this act has written that those who did not obey or follow the act will be fine and jail. There are basically five elements to be considered in designing hospital and residence buildings which are:

  1. Obstructions


Figure 1: Obstructions

Source: Sciverse ScienceDirect

  1. Street furniture


Figure 2: Idea dimension of table that fits wheelchair users

Source: Sciverse ScienceDirect

  1. Curb ramps


Figure 3: Design of Curb ramps

Source: Sciverse ScienceDirect

  1. Parking


Figure 5: Dedicated parking lots design for the person with disabilities

Source: Sciverse ScienceDirect


  1. Hospital Sungai Long (HSL)


Figure 6: Hospital Sungai Long

Source: HSL webpage at http://hospitalsungailong.com/web/contact-us/location-map.html

Hospital Sungai Long is located at Pt 21147, Persiaran SL1, Bandar Sungai Long, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia. This building consists of 6 storeys with 60 beds available. This hospital began its operation in 2012. An access audit was performed in April 2014 for existing building and facilities. Based on the observation and findings, this hospital is not so accessible for elderly and PWDs.


Figure 7: Parking lots of HSL

Source: Case study of HSL, Kajang (2014)

This is the only parking lot next to the main entrance provided by Hospital Sungai Long which consists of not more than 10 lots. In conjunction to this, there are 4 parking lots provided for doctors and specialists staffs of Hospital Sungai Long. In fact they didn’t provide any parking lots for elderly and disabled person that should near the main entrance. It will take a long distance for elderly to go through the main entrance. Besides that, there are no marked parking spaces across the site for those who are registered under person with disabilities (a valid sticker). In order to solving this problem, Hospital Sungai Long should provide parking lots for elderly and disabled that near main entrance and painted in different color from other lots.


Figure 8: Main entrance of HSL

Source: Case study of HSL, Kajang (2014)

The figure shows the main entrance of Hospital Sungai Long. Hospital Sungai Long is using manual operation door and it is difficult task for elderly and disabled to open the door especially those using wheelchairs. Other than that, it may create some uncertainty for elderly and person with disability such as fall down to floor and others. Therefore, it is recommended that Hospital Sungai Long should use automatic door for easy use of elderly and disabled person although it incurred a higher cost.


Figure 9: Pathway of HSL

Source: Case study of HSL, Kajang (2014)

The pathway provided from Hospital Sungai Long is too slanted. The pathway has exceeded the Malaysian Standard MS 1184: 2002 which is not more than 1:12. It is difficult for elderly and person with disabilities to get use of it. Therefore, Hospital Sungai Long should provide a pathway of gradient not more than 1:12.


Figure 10: Toilet in HSL

Source: Case study of HSL, Kajang (2014)

This is the figure of toilet provided in Hospital Sungai Long. The toilet is well equipped with railing that easily accessible for the elderly and disabled person. However, the area is too small. The area is a bit narrow for wheelchairs users. Besides that, there is no tactile surface installed. The installation of tactile surface is to avoid those uncertainties such as fall on floor and others. As a conclusion, Hospital Sungai Long should improved facilities provided for elderly and person with disabilities by enlarge the size of toilet and install tactile surface.


Figure 11: Lift installed in HSL

Source: Case study of HSL, Kajang (2014)

The figure shows the lift installed in Hospital Sungai Long. Overall, the lift is user friendly. For example, the button is 1200mm from the floor level and it is easily accessible for wheelchairs users. However, there is no tactile warning surface installed in front of the lift. Therefore, it is recommended that Hospital Sungai Long should provide tactile warning surface for vision impaired and a bigger lift that able to accommodate more wheelchair users.