‘Visitability’ is Becoming the New Home Construction Standard, Says The CareGiver Partnership

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The CareGiver Partnership founder explains how “visitability” — specific accessibility features that make it easier for those who develop mobility impairment to visit or remain living in their own homes — is becoming the new standard.

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Visitability makes it easier to manage with limited mobility.

It means someone with limited mobility can accept invitations to visit friends and family because he knows the home is accessible.

As the baby boomer generation continues to influence our culture and economy, today’s builders, architects and designers are putting more focus on helping aging seniors remain in their homes by providing greater accessibility. One area of focus is on “visitability,” according to Lynn Wilson, founder of The CareGiver Partnership, a national retailer of incontinence products and other home health care supplies.

“Visitability” is a movement to incorporate specific accessibility features into home construction. “It means someone with limited mobility can accept invitations to visit friends and family because he knows the home is accessible,” says Wilson. “It also means a home can accommodate someone who loses mobility later in life, instead of forcing her to make expensive renovations or move to a nursing home.”

A home with visitability has three key features: at least one zero-step entrance to the home from a driveway or sidewalk; interior doors with at least 32 inches of clear passage space; and at least one wheelchair-accessible bathroom on the main floor. If designed to accommodate a resident with limited mobility, essential features include wall switches and outlets at reachable heights, reinforced bathroom walls to allow for installation of grab bars, and a main-floor bedroom or space that can be converted to a bedroom.

The founders of The CareGiver Partnership are in the process of constructing a home designed around aging-in-place and visitability concepts. It’s designed with four zero-step entrances, 36-inch-wide doorways, a wheelchair-accessible full bath on main floor, and first-floor master suite with wide, zero-step shower and supports for installing grab bars. Additional features built around safety and mobility include ample high-visibility lighting with long-life, energy-efficient LED bulbs and a dumbwaiter that can be later replaced with an elevator if needed. Construction of the ranch-style home in Neenah, Wis., began in May and is expected to be completed by Nov. 1.

“Our goal in publishing progress of this home is to help our customers and all seniors prevent debilitating falls and employ best practices for aging in place safely, comfortably and affordably,” Wilson says. Visit The CareGiver Partnership to download a free home safety guide, "It All Starts with a Fall," and to access hundreds of free articles on senior care and aging in place.

The CareGiver Partnership is a national direct-to-consumer retailer of home healthcare products for incontinence, diabetes, nutrition support and more. In its seventh year of providing products and services that help caregivers and loved ones maintain personal dignity, the company also offers an online library of more than 1,400 family caregiver resources and personal service by experts in caregiving. Call 1-800-985-1353 or visit online at caregiverpartnership.com.

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