Posts by: gail & lou

Our New Leading Partner!


Logo with SM


A big welcome to our new Leading Partner!   Stephanie Smith, President-CEO and Publisher of Senior Advocate along with her mother, Sharon Smith, Vice President of Development, and staff have served the aging population of the Hampton Roads area with excellence and positivity. Their magazine's sub-title is "Celebrating Today's Active Seniors"!

If you haven't picked up a copy of Senior Advocate at your medical office, grocery or restaurant, you can go to their website to find resources for your healthcare needs. See their Resource Guide as well as interesting articles throughout.  The monthly luncheons are highly informative on relevant senior topics as well as a great opportunity to network and meet new friends!  


Did you notice that wheelchair when it was in your pathway?  Did you…

A. Pause to “open the door”?

B. Slow down enough to “open the door and say “Hi” to the person in the wheelchair on your way?

          C. Did you feel a little lighter having helped someone?


If you did A or B, both the caregiver and disabled person you helped say “Thank You!”

If you felt C, then we’re glad we helped YOU, too! We’re all in this life together.


Online Resources

Making Places of Public accommodations Accessible to All: A Step by Step Guide. IN: Bloomington, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, 2004. (grant from ADA-Indiana).

Walzer, Phillip, Disability-Access Lawsuits rise in Hampton Roads Norfolk:  January 12, 2012.

Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA) (1990, 1992-2012)

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. website

Brault, Matthew W., Americans with Disabilities: 2010  Current Population Reports Issued July 2012

ADA: Access to Medical Care with Individuals with Mobility Disabilities. U.S. Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, July 2010.

Projections for the Population Needing Personal Assistance, 2015-2030, Virginia.  (Five years Summary:  [2010  = 187,000,  2015 = 215,000-233,000])

Stein, Tonny, Handicapped  people's access to public buildings: Consider distance and entrances, Chesapeake Clipper, 04/19/13

Making Public Places Accessible to People with Disabilities.

Aaronson, Matthewl J., Story, Ashley H., Public Accommodation ADA Suits on the Rise Troutman 01/22/2012

ADA Guide for Small Businesses. Washington, DC: Small Business Association and  Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Code of Virginia 51.5-44. Rights of persons with disabilities in public places and places of public accommodation.

Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) Project  Civic Access. Cities and Counties: first Steps Toward Solving Common ADA Problems. Washington, DC: US Dept.  of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ("Reproduction of this document is encouraged.", DOJ)

Virginia ADA Resource Guide. Virginia ADA Coalition, Endependence Center, Inc.

Section 504 ADA

*ADA-AG Guidelines for Entry Doors 2002 (7) 8.(iii)

US Access Board  4.13.11

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design: Subpart D of 28 CFR Part 36 (g). Dept of Justice.

Project Civic Access Cities and Counties: First Steps Toward Solving Sommon ADA Problems. U.S. Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section

Cheng, Kipp, “What Marketers Should Know About People with Disabilities”. Solutions Marketing Group: April 18, 2002

Nelson, Kathryn "Do downtown Businesses kick the Disabled to the Curb? Shakopee, October 6, 2011

Building a better economic future for Americans with disabilities. National Disability Institute.

Koehler, Mike, "Disabled Consumers Represent A Huge Market most Ecommerce Sites Forget to Serve" 09/14/2010

Access to San Francisco Small Businesses a Problem for Customers with Disabilities: PERI (Public Entity Risk Institute)website



An open letter to organizations

Outstanding organizations founded to raise money for research while supporting their members, need to look at their membership and ask these questions.

· How many years will many of your members be using walkers and wheelchairs? 

· How many of your members have changed doctors because they were embarrassed or frustrated because they  couldn't enter the office door to medical services without danger and duress?

· How many of your members no longer frequent favorite restaurants or entertainment venues because they cannot  open the double entry doors?

· How many of your members don't want to ask for assistance because they want to maintain their independence?

While no one would dispute that research is imperative to find medications and cures,   "Let’s open doors” honors the civil right of your members  today, empowering  their quality of life today while cures are being sought.    Please join the outreach campaign of "Let's Open Doors" to gain equal access for goods and services for all people in Hampton Roads.

Doors with panel-type handles,


                                                                    (ADA Guide for Small Businesses, p.8)

common to our area, are not accessible and are a barrier to goods and services. A no-cost accessibility approach asks owners and employees to meet persons with disabilities or age-related problems at the entry door of their business. Changing the handles and the pressure with which the door opens and closes also meets "readily achievable" accommodation. Better still are low pressure or automated doors.

Our website,, offers downloadable materials for your organization to  email, print and/or give to your members for distribution to places of concern and to your mailing list. Each organization sending 300 – 600 flyers, postcards or information to businesses would blanket most of Hampton Roads one time. You will see there is a place for your organizations’s information and publicity on the postcards and flyers we have created.   We encourage individuals to download materials to send and/or bring to their organization's attention or to send cards directly to businesses. We have found that owners of businesses often are not aware that their doors are not accessible and seek to remedy the situation once aware.

Organizations coming together in this public awareness campaign to state the need for  the retrofitting of heavy outdated doors  may save falls and injuries, and indeed, lives of membersThis is a people project, working together for the same goal – inclusion of all persons in our economy!

As we speak out together in one voice, commerce will respond. It is to commerce's benefit to respond positively, as there is a market of 56 million aging persons and persons with disabilities, or 18% of our national population constituting a $220 billion economic market. Think of the increase in tourist activity in our economy if it responded to those special needs. As individuals, seniors and persons with disabilities need to speak out through the power of the organizations to which they belong. Organizations need to be responsible to their members by pursuing the equal access due them. It is a win-win for everyone. Over 187,000 persons can be assisted in just the Hampton Roads region with opened entry doors!

Thank you and please  let us together open doors for all.


Add your organization's name and/or link here to the website to build the coalition of those who support equal access for all persons. 

Forty (40) years since the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

                                                             Twenty-three years (23) since the passage of the American Disability Act of 1990 is long enough to wait: il H. Mottola, Let's Open Doors, Executive Director

Let's Open Doors



Let’s Open Doors Heroes!

These are two of our  Let's Open Doors Heroes!

Thank you! For your kindness, your concern and your thoughtfulness. We want to honor those businesses and individuals who are truly making a difference in the lives of others. This page is our way of expressing our gratitude.


Nail Palace displays first decal! Hannah, owner, with Gail.

Nail Palace owner, Hannah, personally opens the door for her clients when needed!



Members holding the "Let's Open Doors" decal on the new automated PNC bank doors at 3012 Pacific Ave, Virginia Beach.

Gail and Ann Perkins, Past President of Hampton Roads Parkinsons, hold a "Let's Open Doors" decal

on the new automatic doors of  the PNC Bank at 31st Street and Pacific, Virginia Beach, VA 

Visitors and local persons will see the decal from afar and know the doors are accessible!

Do You Know?

Accessibility Can Be Affected by a Simple Door Knob or Door Handle




This panel-type handle is not accessible because it requires the user to tightly grasp the handle to pull the door open.


The solution is an accessible door handle.



A loop-type handle is accessible because it can be used without grasping, pinching or twisting.





This handle with a thumb latch is not accessible because one must grasp the handle and pinch down on the thumb latch at the same time.


The Solution is an accessible handle.




A lever handle is accessible because it can be operated without tight grasping, pinching or twisting.

[For more information, see p.8, “ADA Guide for Small Businesses”]


For most people, walking through a door is easy. We're collecting videos of people who have challenges with simply walking through a door, as well as, videos of businesses that have made this simple task a breeze for everyone.

Awareness of accessibility issues is growing, but it's sometimes hard to grasp that different disabilities encounter different issues with doors that most people take for granted. This video from the Huntley Film Archives, is a good overview of the various obstacles people with disabilities face every day.



The following are videos made by individuals who experience challenges opening doors on a near-daily basis.

Entry doors that are not accessible deny quality of life to your members.  

Entry doors that are not accessible are barriers to the goods and services inside.

Entry doors that are not accessible are a danger to all those who use walkers and are susceptible to falls.


Entry doors that are not accessible are a danger to all using a manual wheelchair.


When in a wheelchair one's hand can first get caught in the door handle when trying to release the handle and bring one's arm around the door. Then, holding the door open with one’s elbow, one’s hand can get caught in the door jam as the door closes.

Entry doors that are not accessible are a danger to the caregivers of a person using a wheelchair. The caregiver has to lift a leg in order to hold the door open while pushing the wheelchair through the entry.  Otherwise, the caregiver can be struck by the door in the legs or back as it closes.


The great news is that we are seeing doors being changed!

Let’s Open Doors Campaign



A greeting we all like to hear or feel when we enter a doctor’s office, a restaurant, a bank, or any place of business…


so, WELCOME! to

 Let's Open Doors


It is the civil right of disabled persons to have equal access to premises and has been since 1973 and was restated in the American Disabilities Act of 1990. Yet, entry doors of existing buildings are outdated and heavy for patrons with disabilities and/or age related problems. It is the goal of LETS OPEN DOORS  to advocate equal access by:

  • appealing to the good will of our society: individual, commercial and civic
  • emphasizing awareness of rights of disabled persons through advertisements
  • training employees to assist patrons with disabilities by opening the door
  • installing a doorbell if necessary to alert the staff
  • changing the door pressure by an assisted pressure mechanism
  • adding an electronic push plate or an automatic door
  • citing the federal/state “disability access tax credit” to business and mall owners
  • establishing grants for small businesses to retrofit doors


Click here to view the ADA Guide for Small Businesses


Let's Open Doors is in the media!

Click on the links below to see what Hampton Roads is saying about the Let's Open Doors Campaign:

4/5/13 Inside Business Section of the Hampton Roads Business Journal

by Jared Council


4/7/13 Virginian Pilot

by Melanie Barker


6/20/13 The Virginia Beach Sun (pg.4)

by Nathan Denny

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