The Visitable Home

Last month we covered some tips that could help individuals with mobility challenges as they travel during the holiday season. Often times, however, you personally may be welcoming a friend or family member who will benefit from some accommodations. In the second part of our holiday blog series, we discuss visitability. While some visitors will effortlessly enter and navigate a standard home with multiple steps, some visitors, for a wide variety of reasons, have trouble climbing those steps or must utilize a wheelchair and/or a walker for mobility.

Visitability is a trend that has gained increased traction and certainly deserves attention during the holiday season.  Visitability is defined as a home (usually a single-family home) that is designed in a way or modified in a way that can be lived in or visited by people who might use adaptive equipment and/or have trouble climbing stairs. Some simple home modifications can make an existing home significantly more “visitable” and in-turn, much more inviting.

Some strategies to create a home visitable include:

  • Doorways with at least 32-inch passage space are ideal. Swing-clear hinges can allow for an additional 2-inches of clearance. 
  • One bathroom on the main level with large enough space to maneuver a wheelchair is ideal. Regardless of space, grab bars in the shower and toilet area are recommended.
  • Replace towel racks in bathrooms with secure grab bars. Towel racks are tempting to grab onto for stability. Grab bars are designed for stabilization AND can hold your pretty hand towels just the same. 
  • One barrier-free entrance utilizing a ramp. Often times temporary ramps can be set up in garage entrances. Always assess all access options to determine most accessible. 
  • Sturdy bilateral railings on entrance steps and bilateral handrails on all interior stairways.
  • Well-lit walkways and clear pathways throughout the home including hallways, next to each bed, and at the top & bottom of any stairwell. Well-lit exterior walkways are a must. 
  • Removable bed rails are great to temporarily modify a bed in order to maximize mobility into and out of bed. 

A growing trend is also to build new homes with visitability in mind, however most individuals in need are not in that position and are modifying what they have.  

Some homeowners or adult children may feel that aging in place is a far-off goal, however, making these changes and upgrades now may be worth considering for the future.  Also consider that having a ramped entrance will significantly help with child strollers and wider doors help with furniture moving. Visitability modifications truly benefit everyone!

If you know that your aging parents or grandparents might have a difficult time coming over and the stairs to enter are the primary barrier, Oakley Home Access can help make your existing structure visitable this holiday season or anytime in the future with our ramp rental program, which has a very efficient turn-around time. If you are considering more permanent options with the goal of aging in place, we can also discuss ways in which we can help with many other home modifications.