Wheelchair users, as well as people with disabilities in general, should be treated like ordinary people. They value their independence just as much as everyone does. However, it doesn’t change the fact that they still have special needs. If they fail to meet those needs, achieving independence can be a bit tougher for them.
Hence, it is important to have inclusive infrastructures/equipment that allows disabled individuals to function independently. If that happens, then without a doubt, wheelchair-bound persons will be able to perform basic tasks like traveling and doing household chores without difficulty!
So, without further ado, here are 10 things that will make life easier for wheelchair users!
For wheelchair persons, reaching objects beyond their limits could be quite dangerous. They might knock something else up in the shelves which can fall down and hurt them. In some cases, handicapped individuals force themselves to stand, climb or crawl just to get something. This is extremely risky as they could injure themselves in the process. With that said, having reachers are great for helping them get those out of reach items. It helps makes anything much more accessible to disabled people.
2. Specialized Mattresses
A wheelchair isn’t just exclusive for one type of disability. It ranges from leg amputation to whole-body paralysis. These disabilities have their own unique needs that must be met and that includes a good night’s sleep. But for some wheelchair users, every night on the bed is a nightmare especially for those who can not move voluntarily. They might suffer from bedsores and be very uncomfortable. Hence, specialized mattresses are important to prevent bedsores from developing. For instance, the Invacare alternating air electric mattress automatically rolls you over every so often during sleep. Whatever their disability may be, they will surely receive great benefits from specialized mattresses.
Also, bed frame grab rails are very handy. These simple add-ons can provide support for wheelchair users when sitting up or getting in and out of bed.
Of course, the most common necessity for every wheelchair user that is constantly on the go: ramps. However, as common as they might be, some streets and buildings do not have ramps for wheelchair. These are certainly the case for developing countries and rural areas where budget is limited. Thus, the lack of ramps makes it harder for wheelchair users to move around independently. Luckily, some countries, especially in the US, are pushing for a more inclusive environment. Ramps are undoubtedly very essential in every infrastructure as it boosts mobility and accessibility that allows everyone, regardless of mobility limitations, to go anywhere they want.
Moreover, if remodeling of the building is not possible, a portable ramp should do the trick!
4. Speed Dial Handicapped Transportation Service
It’s such good news to hear that more and more transportation services are being accessible to wheelchair users. From wheelchair-accessible-taxis to paratransit services, the disabled community surely has more options to choose from! But there are still some challenges that continue to arise such as overcrowded buses and incompetent drivers. By providing handicapped transportation service on speed dial, then those issues might be solved. People-with-disabilities would now have their very own personal transportation service and they will never have to worry about commuting ever again!
5. Wheelchair gloves
Pushing the wheels can be very tiresome and dirty work. Wheelchair tires are exposed to bacteria, dirt, mud, and everything else that is disgusting. Not only that, but the wheels can chafe hands when pushing against them. Hands are the most used part of the body for most wheelchair users. So after pushing those dirty wheels, they might have to prepare dinner for themselves – which is very unsanitary! Wearing wheelchair gloves will certainly help keep the hands clean from all those wheely nastiness. Also, some wheelchair individuals have sweaty hands which can make wheel-pushing extra difficult. Being equipped with gloves will give them a better grip and prevent their hands from sliding off the wheel!
6. Non-slip Walk-in Showers
It may sound too demanding, but for some wheelchair users, this is the perfect bathroom for them. Showers can be a little hazardous because of the small spaces and slippery surfaces. But this can easily be prevented by installing walk-in showers with no lip or other obstructions. A lowered toilet seat is also great together with sinks, cabinets, and other amenities. This will further improve the safety of wheelchair-bound individuals and make shower-time less frustrating. These simple changes will surely have significant impact to a wheelchair user maintaining independence.
7. A Pet
Some wheelchair users shun the idea of getting assistance because it lowers their sense of independence. This is partly due to the fact that caretakers get to control their daily activities. But this is not necessarily the case when it comes to animals. Getting a pet is still assistance, but it’s more of a secondary support. Pets are great for lifting any mood and medical researches are slowly starting to recognize the positive effects of pet ownership on humans. Not only that, but specialized trained pets will keep handicapped individuals safe outside and inside their homes. They are well aware of their owner’s needs and will often do certain tasks that their owners cannot.
8. Doorways and Closet Space
Narrow doorways and closet space are quite common in old establishments. For instance, small work offices are very crowded and allow for limited mobility. This takes away the opportunity for wheelchair users to work for that company simply because of the environment. In addition, when visiting a neighbor or friend, their house is often not wheelchair-friendly. There might be furniture blocking off the paths around the house which makes it difficult and often embarrassing for handicapped people. Fortunately, newly built buildings have walkways large enough for a wheelchair to pass. This allows them to roam around freely without any obstacle or challenges.
9. Tire Repair Kits
This may not happen often, but if it happens, I imagine it to be hell for wheelchair-bound individuals. A simple flat tire can lead to a bad situation and may often take away wheelchair users’ independence. Since they’re practically immobile, they will have to rely on others to carry them around until the tire is fixed. But fear not: repair kits are here to the rescue! It will help temporarily fix the issue until a replacement arrives.
10. Emergency Medical Alert Hotline
In the event that an awful situation happens and no one is around, an accessible emergency medical alert hotline for wheelchair users should save them from further damage. Telecommunication and digital services providers should have an option for PWDs wherein they can dial for medical assistance in just one tap. Having this simple feature on every phone will not only save lives but make things easier for everyone.
Which of these items do you think are the most useful for wheelchair users? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this blog!