Visitability in Hawaii County

 

a page constructed by Disability Rights Hawaii

 

(click on this link for information about DRH)

 

Visitability is a mark of a truly integrated community, one in which people with physical disabilities are able to enter the homes of their friends and neighbors without finding barriers that limit their access.

 

Visitability is a goal for the future. A County Ordinance for Visitability will require or encourage that new homes have three accessibility features

--  an entrance with zero steps

--  32” clear passage among rooms, including bathrooms

--  at least a half bath on the main floor

 

As more and more new homes are built to be visitable, and older homes are converted to be visitable, the community will become integrated.

 

Visitability works together with Aging in Place, a principle that states that all citizens should be able to continue to live in their own homes, even after they become physically disabled through age, injury, or illness. Visitability takes the first and easiest steps towards keeping all citizens in the community, and out of nursing homes.

 

Concrete Change is the national organization that is most active in promoting visitability.

 

The rest of this web page is copied out of one of the basic fliers supplied by Concrete Change. To see additional news and information about Visitability and Aging in Place, go to the DRH Page of Visitability Documentation.

 

What Is Visit-Ability?

Most homes have steps at every entrance, and have bathroom doors that are narrower than other interior passage doors.

Visitable homes have:

--one entrance with zero steps
--32 inches clear passage through all interior doors, including bathrooms
--at least a half bath (preferably a full bath) on the main floor

Visitable homes are deliberately designed with basic access by residents who do NOT have disabilities.

What Are The Benefits?

Homes in the community can welcome guests who use wheelchairs or walkers, or have some other form of mobility impairment.

Residents are more likely to be able to remain in their existing homes, rather than having to move out or do extensive, expensive renovation, if a family members develops a disability.

All residents find it easier to bring in baby strollers, grocery carts, heavy furniture......

Sale and re-sale of the homes is enhanced in an era where the senior demographic is growing rapidly and baby boomers are attracted to homes that welcome their aging parents and provide easy-use homes for themselves.

Visitability features cost little up front---unlike the higher after-the-fact cost of renovation for widening doors and adding ramps.

Visitability features are easy to construct on most terrain, visually unnoticeable, and allow increased flexibility in selling or renting homes. On new construction, a zero-step entrance can usually be incorporated without a "ramp" by grading so that the sidewalk meets the porch.

More On Doors

All interior passage doors need to be a minimum of 2'8", which leaves 30" clear space. 2'l0" doors are much better, leaving 32 inches of clear passage space, and are increasingly available because that is the width required by the Fair Housing Amendment in new multi-family dwellings. 3'0" doors are excellent where space permits. Special attention needs to be paid to the bathroom door because this is the one typically smaller than other doors on house plans.

It's not essential (although it can be helpful) to have a large turning radius inside a residential bathroom; in a small bathroom, the wheelchair user can roll in forward and roll out backward. But it is essential to have at least a 32" clear path to the commode. The bathroom door can be hinged to swing out rather than in to give a person using a wheelchair enough room to shut the door when inside the room.

Do any developments already incorporate visitability?

Yes. For more information, contact Eleanor Smith at 404-378-7455 or concretechange@mindspring.com. Also see the website at http://www.concretechange.org/