While you may not require any changes or modifications to your home for yourself, many people have friends and relatives who require some level of modification to be able to visit. This is called “visitability” and it is becoming more and more popular for individuals as well as for planning organizations in various levels of government.
So, what makes a home “visitable”? Of course, if you have a specific person or group of people in mind, the answer to this question can also be specific. However, there are a number of common elements to home visitability.
At least one zero-step entrance. This can be either at the front or back of the house but the idea is to have a way for people to enter the house without having to use steps.
Interior doors having a minimum of clear-opening of 32 inches. This is to allow people in wheelchairs, walkers, etc. to be able to get through the door. If possible, making the doorway even wider and adding easy-open hardware (like lever door handles which don’t require someone to grip and turn) is also recommended.
36 inch wide hallways. These allow for easy movement through the ground floor and while doors might be slightly narrower, it is important to not have high thresholds at the doors. It’s recommended to be less than 1/2 inch but 1/4 is even better.
Ground floor bathrooms. Making a bathroom accessible on the main floor making visiting so much easier for people with accessibility issues.
Controls less than 48 inches above floor level. Whether they be light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, etc., having the house controls at the level allows everyone access.
Visitability is a basic component of universal design principles which focus on creating homes that everyone can live in and visit. Whether you are doing it for yourself, friends, family or just someone who drops by, giving thought to some of these changes can make a world of difference to someone visiting you. Want some more information? Why not visit VisitAble Housing Canada to learn a bit more!