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Space planning: Staying balanced

Walking is difficult enough for people whose legs don't quite work right, but for many people it's a loss of balance rather than weakness that causes falls. People with Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors or cerebral palsy, which can cause the brain to give the limbs weak, or incorrect, signals, know this all too well, as do sufferers of diseases of the inner ear that lead to vertigo and loss of balance.

curved_counters_opt Houses can't cure these diseases but placement of counters, furniture and railings can make a big difference in a person's ability to navigate without mishap. The counters shown here are placed close enough to each other that a person can easily steady himself on one or the other, or both. They are also curved, to lessen any injury should one fall against them.

On the other side of the lefthand counter (as seen at top), a sofa is placed so that the back of the sofa provides another handhold, as do the backs of sturdy chairs as one moves through the rooms.