Have you ever thought about bathrooms from a handicapped person’s perspective? I never did either, until the other day when I noticed how the mirrors are tilted down in order for the person in the wheelchair to check their hair, put on lipstick or in general see what they look like.
I guess part of the reason I never did was because I really didn’t know anyone who had to spend the majority of their lives in a permanent rolling contrivance. However, I now have a nephew who is confined to one until his body is healed.
There are different sizes and layouts of handicapped accessible stalls, some, like those at my school are very large and spacious, with a lot of room to maneuver, but others, like the one at the Denny’s we visited today, make me wonder what the code enforcement people were thinking. There was no way a wheelchair would have been able to get into, much less move around in, the ‘handicapped’ stall in their facility.
Take a moment and truly appreciate what life is like for these folk. That’s what they are – regular folk like us, just without the use of their legs. Make sure you are the one who jumps to open the door or offer to guide them up a ramp that is too steep to easily ascend if they do not have a motorized chair. Of course, ask permission first – after all, it is their prerogative to do it themselves, but I bet they would appreciate that human touch.
And lastly, one very BIG thing – when talking to someone in a wheelchair, make sure to look at them and not any caregiver or companion when speaking to them. It’s rude and to do otherwise makes them feel invisible; something they do not need to have to deal with on top of everything else.
I thank you and my nephew thanks you and everyone in wheelchairs thank you.