Windows from an OT Perspective
Earlier today, Jane Blanchard wrote a fantastic piece about window choices for older adults from a designer perspective. I found it an interesting piece to see how different types of windows are considered for specific spaces of the home.Windows are overlooked in many homes and facilities I visit. I have had patients post a fall due to attempting to open a window and am often asked to “be a dear” and open/close windows for them.
From my viewpoint as an occupational therapist, I agree with Ms. Blanchard that all the windows are viable options for a home for an older adult. I would consider the latches and opening mechanisms when helping advise for types of windows based on where the window is in the home. For example, I would consider a Smart Touch opening system appropriate for a patio door (often a source of balance loss), but not for a regular room window. I would recommend rotary handle or automated windows for regular room windows as they would allow the person to stay centered over their feet to open the window and reduce strain on their arms. In addition, a rotary handle is easy to adapt and make larger in the case of someone with arthritis or hand deformities.
This is just one example of how a designer and an OT can work together to create an attractive yet functional living environment for an older adult.