We have all, from time to time, experienced accessibility issues when accessing public buildings for a variety of reasons.
Be they due to refurbishments, redecoration or simply a large delivery blocking an entrance, they have caused problems that cause great inconvenience to this sector of the community.
They are a nuisance at the best of times but nothing insurmountable for most of us, most of the time.
But imagine how certain limitations to accessibility can affect a person with disabilities, perhaps a wheelchair user or an elderly person who has limited mobility.
Then you see a whole new set of problems which are not always so easy to overcome.
Take, for instance a problem that can arise when a person with disabilities needs the facilities of one of the handicapped rest rooms.
This is a facility that should be located in most public buildings and stores these days only to find that the one they get to first is out of order.
This may seem a minor annoyance to most able bodied people who would merely curse under their breath and make their way to the next nearest bathroom. But for a wheelchair user, that option is far from convenient because it may take them considerable more time to reach the next handicapped bathroom causing them much discomfort and even embarrassment.
Getting to Upper Floors of a Building
The same goes for access to upper floors, where the stairs themselves would become the major barrier to a wheelchair user unless they had help.
If the flight of stairs were long, steep or narrow, the problem would be compounded further.
Many buildings with upper floors provide elevators or moving stairs or a wheelchair stair lift for wheelchair users but what happens when these are out of order for maintenance or repair, as can happen from time to time?
Short Term Inconvenience
Mainly, these problems with handicapped access are intermittent and do not last too long. But they can sometimes be avoided by using a little common sense.
Like scheduling bathroom cleaning during times when the building is closed to the public. Or scheduling elevator or moving stair maintenance to closed times. Simple yet effective measures that result in minimizing the impact on the very people who rely on these facilities the most.
It doesn’t take a great deal of additional planning to make life as trouble free as possible for people who have the kind of special needs like people with disabilities that a little additional forethought could easily satisfy. Just something to bear in mind next time some maintenance or repair work needs to be scheduled.
Originally posted: June 14, 2013
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