Homes for Life Coalition Encourages
Visit-ability, Barrier-free and Universal Design


Visit-ability: Visit-ability is a term gaining recognition and political support across the country and in Europe. A visit-able home allows visitors and residents with different abilities and changing needs welcoming access to the main floor living area.


Basic features of a visit-able home are:

        One zero-step entrance to the main living area

        All main floor interior doors including bathrooms with 32 inches of clear passage space

        At least a half bath, preferably a full bath, on the main floor

Source: Concrete Change


Barrier-free: Rooms, entrances, and environments that are designed to minimize or eliminate barriers like steps; thresholds greater than ; and narrow, cluttered, or restrictive passages.

Source: AOTA Occupational Therapy Practice Guidelines for Home Modifications


Universal Design: Universal Design (UD) is the design of products and environments to be useable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Source: Center for Universal Design, North Carolina University


Basic Universal Design features are:

        At least one no-step entrance

        Complete living area including master bedroom and bath on first floor (or elevator access if multi-story)

        36 wide front door with exterior lighting

        Interior doorways at least 32 wide (36 is preferable)

        Clear hallways 3642 wide

        Blocking for grab bars in bathroom walls near toilet, tub and shower

        Lever handles on interior and exterior doors 

        Thresholds in height or less (1/2 if tapered)

        Switches and outlets 20-48 from floor


Benefits are . . .

        Life is easier for people with aging parents who come to visit grandchildren or stay

        A family is more likely to be able to remain in the home if a member must use a walker or wheelchair

        It is easier to bring in baby strollers, grocery carts and heavy or bulky furniture

        Anyone in a cast, on crutches, or using a walker or wheelchair can easily get in your home

        Re-sale value is enhanced


Whether building a new home or remodeling an existing home . . .

Think Visit-ability, Barrier-free and Universal Design



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