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Clever elevators

March 14, 2010 @ 12:07 By: gordon Category: General, Out and about

I was visiting someone in an old age care facility recently and was quite surprised with how cleverly the elevators there operate. The facility has two floors and residents are able to move about the facility pretty much at will. Access in and out is carefully controlled to minimize the chances of someone wandering off.

Some of the residents have Alzheimer’s. One of the characteristics of Alzheimer’s is a tendancy to wander. Thus, one of the goals when designing a care facility for people with Alzheimer’s is ensuring that there aren’t any dead end corridors that could end up frustrating them while they roam about. Elevators pose a special problem because of the potential for someone to get frustrated, or even trapped, if the doors close and they can’t figure out how to make them open again.

Some places use access controls such as swipe cards or keys to control access to elevators, but in this facility the elevators are designed to minimize this problem while allowing the residents to use the elevators on their own. Rather than requiring someone to push a floor button, they detect when someone enters the car and automatically go to the other floor where they patiently wait for people to exit. Very clever.

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