Common Challenges for People Who Use Wheelchairs
It is important for others to look at life from the perspective of someone who uses a wheelchair. It may be helpful to share this with friends, family members, and coworkers so they understand your challenges and become more aware.
- Uneven and rough terrain. This can make it difficult to maneuver manual wheelchairs. Sand is a good example: visiting a beach presents unique hardships for both manual and electric wheelchair users.
- Small doorways or corridors. This is a problem with older buildings in particular. They were not designed for accessibility. As well, many parking lots are also difficult to navigate, which can make errands, shopping, and social activities that much more complex.
- Public transportation. Public transit is not always accessible (e.g. if there are no elevators - or if they are out of order), and when it is, it can still be difficult. For example, getting on and off a bus that is wheelchair-equipped can be time-consuming. Another concern is gaps that are present on transitions onto trains and subways. For wheelchair users, this can be a big hazard.
- Cramps. When out and about, wheelchair users do not have a choice but to remain in a seated position. This can lead to muscle cramps and sores, which are very uncomfortable. Many people do not realize this is an issue. It is. Please be kind.
- Blind spots. Wheelchair users are typically below the expected line of vision for motorists, cyclists, and others. They may not see wheelchair users in time to react. Scan the roadway and sidewalks for everyone!
- Being ignored, talked down to, or given “special help.” Some people with wheelchairs feel invisible. Others experience people talking down to them or being overly solicitous. For example, some people may think a wheelchair user always needs extra help for everything from picking out a melon at the grocery store to fueling up at the gas station.
Now, some of us would like some assistance in some situations. And we’ll typically ask. We like to think the Golden Rule applies here. Do onto others as you’d have done onto you. In other words, if you see someone struggling with a task, respectfully ask if they’d like a hand. If they don’t, fine! If they do, fine! This is basic human kindness. Do it for everyone who’s having a hard time, regardless of whether they’re in a wheelchair or not.
If you are a wheelchair user, you know these challenges and struggles all too well. If you have a loved one or acquaintance who uses a wheelchair, please be aware of potential hazards and hardships. It can make any outing much more convenient and comfortable if you are prepared.
As well, if you encounter a wheelchair user in your daily travels, work, or outings, please remember to put yourself not in their shoes, but in their wheels. The world can be a very different place for those with mobility challenges. That doesn't mean it’s less than… Not by any stretch of the imagination. It just means we all need to gain perspective and take time for understanding.
Loyal Lifts is here to help eliminate some of the daily struggles faced by wheelchair users. With comfortable, stylish vehicles, courteous professional drivers, and door to door service, we are here to make your world more accessible. Contact us for our luxurious wheelchair accessible transportation.