Barrier-free Facilities in Age-friendly Malls to Promote Inclusiveness

November 2022

If shopping centres can cater for the elderly and the disabled, they are both improving the shopping experience and promoting inclusiveness. Two of Link’s malls, namely Oi Tung Shopping Centre in Shau Kei Wan and Yu Chui Shopping Centre in Sha Tin, have recently participated in the “Charter for Age-friendly Shopping Malls” under the “Jockey Club Age-Friendly City” project. The scheme aims to encourage shopping malls to provide more elder- and user-friendly measures that could better take care of the needs of visitors at all ages.

For Wheelchair users: Ramps

There are ramps at the main entrances of Oi Tung Shopping Centre and Yu Chui Shopping Centre for easier access of wheelchair users. Photo: one of the ramps at Oi Tung.
Ramps for wheelchair users are also present outside the elevators at Yu Chui Shopping Centre.

What does it mean to become a chartered mall? If you are an elderly or a wheelchair user, then the barrier-free facilities in a mall would be one of your concerns. In Oi Tung Shopping Centre and Yu Chui Shopping Centre, there are ramps at the main entrances and outside the elevators for easier access of wheelchair users; low-levelled design are also present at the customer service counters of both malls, which accommodate the eye level of wheelchair users and facilitate conversation with the staff; accessible washrooms for disabled people are also more spacious with improved accessibility; near the major entrances and frequently-visited area, there are also clear signages and directory for the convenience of shoppers.

The customer service counters in both malls are equipped with low-levelled design to facilitate conversation between the wheelchair users and the staff.
The accessible washrooms are more spacious with improved accessibility, including the tactile paths designed for the visually impaired.
In the vicinity of entrances and elevators, there are signs showing the locations of the barrier-free facilities.
Clear signages and directories are present to show the locations of different facilities.

For the Visually Impaired: Tactile Maps

At the entrances of Oi Tung and Yu Chui shopping centres, there are tactile maps with braille signs. They are also equipped with voice navigation function to better tell the locations. Tactile paths outside accessible washrooms are also available for the convenience of the users.

At the entrances of Oi Tung and Yu Chui shopping centres, there are tactile maps for the visually impaired to familiarise themselves with the mall.
At the entrances of Oi Tung and Yu Chui shopping centres, there are tactile maps for the visually impaired to familiarise themselves with the mall.

For the Deaf and Mute: Cue Cards

The service counter in Oi Tung Shopping Centre is well-prepared for the deaf and mute community as they have prepared cue cards for different enquiries. On the other hand, the staff are also well-trained. According to Karen Cheung, Link’s Property Management Manager at Oi Tung, regular training has been provided to front-line officers on how to assist visitors in need.

The service counter in Oi Tung Shopping Centre provides cue card for different enquiries.
The service counter in Oi Tung Shopping Centre provides cue card for different enquiries.

For the Elderly: “Age at Home” Centre

Peter Kwong, Link’s Property Management Senior Manager responsible for the Yu Chui Shopping Centre, was glad about the move-in of the Jockey Club “age at home” Gerontech Education and Rental Service Centre in Jan 2021. The centre is open to public and provides trial and rental services of various gerontech products, professional evaluation, follow-up services and holds free educational events about gerontech. Due to the relatively high price of some equipment, rental service is an affordable way for the elderly and their caretakers to benefit from the latest technology.

Jockey Club “age at home” Gerontech Education and Rental Service Centre provides trial of various gerontech products.
Jockey Club “age at home” Gerontech Education and Rental Service Centre provides trial of various gerontech products.

Jeff Mau, Link’s Director of Property Management, explained that Oi Tung and Yu Chui were chosen to participate in the “Charter for Age-friendly Shopping Malls” because they were well-equipped with barrier-free facilities, and they were in the vicinity of elderly homes. They would consider nominating other shopping centres as they saw fit.

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