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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Facilities certified ‘friendly’ for people with mobility issues - Taiwan

In an effort to encourage the construction of buildings and living spaces that are accessible for elderly and disabled people, the Ministry of the Interior certified 149 facilities around the nation as “friendly environments” for those with limited mobility.

The housing complexes, hotels, hospitals and leisure facilities were awarded the certificates by the Architecture and Building Research Institute.

Minister of the Interior Chen Wei-zen  presented the awards at a ceremony.

Among the winners were the Fumao Yuhsiu apartments and Howard Hotel in Greater Kaohsiung; Taijiang National Park in Greater Tainan; Kuang Tien General Hospital in Greater Taichung; the Sheraton Hsinchu Hotel; and Wanfang Hospital in Taipei.

They and all other access-friendly facilities have been put on the digital map thanks to a mobile app launched by the ministry to promote certified infrastructure.

Chen said that the nation’s aging population means it will become an “aged” society as soon as 2016, with “aged” being defined as the number of people aged 65 and older accounting for 14 percent of the population.

In the future, Taiwan will have to adapt to the needs of about 4 million people with special needs, including senior citizens, physically and mentally challenged people, infants and expected mothers, the minister said at the ceremony.

Chen called for more architecture and public facilities, including housing, playgrounds and restaurants, to be made accessible for people with limited mobility and other disabilities.

According to ministry statistics, the nation’s population of people aged 65 and over was 2.78 million as of October, accounting for 11.9 percent of the nation’s total population of just over 23 million.

The number of physically and mentally challenged people was 1.13 million in the second quarter of the year, about 4.8 percent of the population, the statistics showed.

Source: Taipei Times, 20th Dec 2014

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