Growing up with a disabled mother, Amy and I know how hard it is to do the “normal” things families get up to. While we were growing up, holidays and days out with Mum were a rarity. This is due to her Multiple Sclerosis which prevented her from travelling for extended periods of time and getting access to certain places. So, today I’m going to discuss the changes that have been made as well as some spots in the UK which are wheelchair accessible.
Realistically and legally, most locations should be wheelchair accessible. But every single Costa Coffee I have been to has manual doors meaning someone like my Mum – who has no movement in her legs – would have to rely on a passerby. And this shouldn’t happen. Not in Costa, not anywhere.
For our Mum, going out is a treat. She doesn’t do it often for a few reasons:
- The cost of a wheelchair accessible taxi is about double the amount of a regular taxi.
- Many locations don’t have automatic doors.
- Supermarkets are often crowded, narrow-aisled and full of people who can’t see past the end of their nose.
- Cafes and restaurants have little room for a wheelchair (plus she gets embarrassed that people like to stare when she has to be fed).
- Someone has to control my mother’s wheelchair due to the minimal movement she has in her hands. Which means more space is taken up on pathways and in establishments.
Disabled people do not have the equality they deserve. It’s often seen more of a hindrance to create a disabled-friendly environment. The government seems to feel that it’s easier to throw benefits at the disabled community as opposed to using it towards better care and equal opportunities.
ACCESSIBLE DAYS OUT
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There are plenty of places in the UK which do have accessible attractions and transport is getting even easier. Take a look at this infographic by Mobility Nationwide which displays some top British attractions.
It’s great that more and more historic buildings are making small changes to their accessibility. Just because a building is old, doesn’t mean ramps can’t be put in! Technology has come so far that there is so much equipment that can help wheelchair users and other disabilities visit sites.
IS DISABLED ACCESS ENOUGH?
Even with all of the ramps, lifts and automatic doors in the world, sometimes I don’t think it’s enough. It’s the attitude of the public, staff members and the government that also needs to change.
I believe there should be more assistance and care plans to help disabled people enjoy comforts both inside and outside of their home. And I don’t just mean having days out.
In my honest opinion, many care companies forget that their clients are to be treated like people and are there to do things that the clients are unable to.
I find it horrific that social services allocate certain times for domestic calls such as cleaning and shopping. If my mother wants her home cleaned more than once a week, she has to pay for it herself. And a cleaner can range from £10-£15 an hour.
She cannot be showered daily, only when there is an allocated slot. This is because of the lack of carers (most of them transfer to office work). Sometimes she’s left in bed until 10am because her carers have four calls in the morning before her, despite it being agreed at 7:45am. Sometimes, she is forgotten completely. This means she misses her medication and doesn’t have all of her meals. The list of issues goes on.
The main problem? There is no other care company that can provide the same level of “care” that she needs. So, although there are establishments that are helping the issue with access, there needs to be a rise in care.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESS
No one should feel like a third class citizen. The disabled community should have the opportunity to go out and enjoy what able-bodied people can. Which is why it is so important for transport to be accessible, without the pressure of people waiting and tutting. It’s important for there to be space for wheelchairs in public areas. There needs to be much more awareness and changes made so that everyone has the same opportunities.
Image via: KaboomPics