Let’s Open Doors is a public education and advocacy campaign co-founded by Drs. Louis and Gail Mottola.

The couple experienced the need due to Lou’s Parkinson Disease Dementia, a result of Agent Orange from his service in Vietnam. Still wanting to contribute to society, they realized that outdated doors created unnecessary hazards for those needing adaptive equipment at whatever age.

Our mission is to support the civil right of equal access for persons with disabilities and the aging population by advocating the accessibility of all entry doors.

By joining with other organizations, profit and non-profit, together with  individuals and public entities, Let’s Open Doors strives to influence the voluntary alteration of entry doors  to comply with guidelines of the 1990 American Disabilities Act.

Public commercial properties and medical offices offer goods and services for all persons, but a substantial number of entry doors act as barriers for our aging population, persons with disabilities and parents with children in strollers.

Panel-like shaped handles, common in Hampton Roads, are dangerous to anyone using a walker or wheelchair. Modern accessible handles for exterior doors are tubular (loop-type).  Door pressure has a positive or negative impact on a person’s legs or back, depending how difficult to open and how fast the door’s closing occurs. Today’s doors have pressure assisted features, less difficult to open safely and are slower to close.  Kinder still are automatic doors which open without touch, or by pushing a handicap button.

Though automation is the best solution, changing only handles and the door pressure can eliminate the barrier to goods and service.

Alterations are a “win-win” solution for both commerce and PATRONS.  By speaking out, people can remain with their same doctor or patronize the stores and restaurants chosen before having any disability. By choosing to alter entry doors, the businessman can take a nearly 50% federal tax credit, up to $10,000 or $15,000 per year for disability alterations.  By recognizing a market of $220 billion nationally, 56 million people or 18% of our population are better served as valuable citizens who have equal rights to goods and services.

The first organization to adopt this campaign  was the Hampton Roads Parkinsons Chapter and  included sending 600 Hampton Roads businesses a postcard, asking minimal cooperation by greeting those needing assistance at their entry doors.  “Many owners have done more by changing door handles or the doors themselves,” said Dr. Gail Mottola. “Now we are asking other organizations to join us in this campaign.”  Ann Perkins, outgoing President of Hampton Roads Parkinson Chapter, added, “We are pleased as we hear from members and others who watch for changes, that in fact, changes are happening.”  Incoming President Don Bradway emphasized, “We gratefully encourage all owners to make the change.” 

Contact Information: 

Dr. Gail Mottola, Executive Director

Let’s Open Doors