Aging, Visitability, and Santa


Santa Claus has the right idea: visit people once a year.

-Victor Borge


 Aging in Place

Ya know Santa isn’t getting any younger…and to think, the old-guy has been climbing down chimneys for as long as I can remember. This got me wondering about the accessibility of our home—and more practically; how could we entertain guests with mobility issues?



The aging in place movement embraces a concept known as “visitability” which is defined by 3 basic features:

1. One zero-step entrance, at the front, side, or back of the home

2. All main floor doors (bathrooms too) have at least 32 inches of clear passage space

3. A half bath, preferably a full bath, on the main floor

These elements will make your house a “visitability” home, allowing wheelchair or other mobility challenges to be accommodated.


With each passing season and the aging of our loved ones, the idea of “visitability” becomes a reality in our Holiday planning. The gift of receiving others into our homes is what defines the season and it’s where life-time memories are created. So accessibility to the home is fundamental to the experience of Christmas and New Years.


Accommodating Santa

Now, as for a jolly-aging-over-weight guy who has a weakness for soda pop, cookies and milk…I think he too would appreciate a zero-step entrance and wide doorways which would facilitate his girth—and that easy access bathroom might come in handy as well…after all it will be a LONG night!


My Gift to You: (Listen)

John Henry Faulk’s ‘Christmas Story’



“Visitability” defined

Concrete Change

Michael Graves

Darren Larson on Visitability


Comments 5

  1. Lorna Waterman
    February 16, 2010

    Hello. I am in need of some advice. My company offers a walk-in tub service to the residents of Arizona. I would like to learn more about how to meet their needs. Generally, when we are called, there has been a fall or a surgery that has threatened their independence and there is little else that we can do but to put up grab bars and widen doorways.

    NAHB offers a program to be an Aging in Place Specialist, but it does not offer one in Arizona. I am not sure that this program is actually worth the bother as it focuses as much on marketing to the older demographic as it does to serve it. So I would like to be pointed in the direction of a program or a source of information that can educate me and make me more useful to my community.

    Thank you.

  2. November 30, 2015

    This is a concept that we in the HUD subsidized senior housing community have long embraced. The problems seniors face when aging in place in their private residences are only exacerbated by the lack of visitability.

  3. December 2, 2015

    Holidays are great times to talk about accommodations for friends and relatives, especially those whom we don’t see often. A lot of us are surprised in the change in abilities of family members and are reminded of how difficult our homes can be to navigate for them. It is nice to have accommodations for them. For instance, I add toilet-mounted bars so my mom can more safely use our first floor bathroom when she visits. I can quickly de-mount them when not needed.

    1. Patrick Roden PhD
      December 2, 2015

      Richard, thank you for your comment. Your mother is lucky to have a leader in the field of UD as a son 😉

      Happy Holidays, you’re part of the solution.

      Best, Patrick

  4. January 3, 2016

    Your readers might be interested in because it has a number of resources available that could be of assistance. There are webinars, a video, photos, guidelines, etc. All the best for 2016.

Comments are closed.