Maybe in previous seasons, everyone that came to our home or those of our neighbors or clients was familiar with the layout and had no serious issues entering or moving about in the home, even if it wasn't totally visitable. They even were able to make it into the backyard (or go around the outside) to join us for the outside festivities. Nevertheless, it might be time to make a few changes.
As we evaluate and plan for improvements on our own homes, we can project similar changes onto the homes of clients that we have already worked with but didn't offer these solutions at the time, homes that we currently are looking at helping, and ones that we will be asked to work on in the future.
Regardless of what type of project, home modification, or improvement we have consulted on or been asked to provide for our clients, we should notice where we can factor in a visitability upgrade and do so whenever we can. Visitability never goes out of style.
Whether it's our own home or one that we are working on for a client, we need to begin outside and look at how easy it is for people to get from their car (in the driveway) or the sidewalk (if they park on the street or are walking from a neighboring home) to the front door. Are there challenges or obstacles to overcome - cracks, voids, or spaces in the walkway that interfere with a smooth navigation of it, unevenness in the walking surface that presents challenge for balance or mobility, extreme changes in grade (up, down, or undulating), low spots that collect water or mold, narrow pathways, an excessive cross slope, or steps to be climbed? For any of these conditions that are present, how can they be remedied - effectively and reasonably in terms of materials and budget?
Once someone gets to the door, are they able to stand under a covering that protects them from precipitation or the hot sun? Is there sufficient room for them to gather awaiting the door to open and then enough space to move safely out of the way of the door as they enter?
Is the entry door wide enough for most people to use successfully - at least a 36" door (three feet)? Double doors that provide a five to six-foot opening are even better when there is sufficient space to accommodate them.
Once inside, there are other key areas to be aware of and address. Starting on the outside is the strategic place to begin, however. Even if the inside of the home can accommodate people as they move about, they have to be able to get to the front door and move through it before that becomes possible.