Accessibility Limitations Can Make Sheltering in Place Even More Challenging
You realize that the country is starting to open up, but as this occurs, there are many more people being tested, many more positive responses to the tests, and many more deaths. For you and your family, the risks are just not worth it. Even though you ca go back out in public, it does not mean you should. You and your husband are in the high risk category, and your health and well-being are just too important to risk the chance of bringing the virus into your home and your lives! For now, you will continue to stay at home as much as possible and wear masks and gloves when you need to venture out for the necessities.
Maybe, just maybe, if and when the medical community has this all figured out, you could return to being able to do some teaching again. If not at the college where you used to work, but maybe going back to substitute teaching in high school classrooms, or when you can return safely to church, maybe teaching a Bible study group there.
In the meantime you are focusing on a few small home improvements and making sure that your husband is still able to make it to the necessary appointment for wheelchair alterations. About three weeks before you began self isolating, you had started the process of ordering a new wheelchair cushion, but had stopped as you realize that it might be time to make sure the chair still fits well. It is looking more and more likely that you will have a home health nurse come to you, instead of going out to the clinic that you used to pretty frequently visit. The wheelchair cushion replacement is not essential, but you have always liked to stay ahead of any of the changes that need to be made.
Accessibility Issues Remain a Factor for Many During Quarantine
Even thought there are many changes that have occurred during the two and half months since Covid-19 has spread across the nation, it is important to note that there are still many things that remain the same. And for those individuals and families who have limited mobility, it remains essential that new walkers, improved shower chair seats, and more comfortable wheelchair cushions can still be accessed. And while sheltering in place may be an inconvenience to many, people who have relied on regular access to in person therapy sessions may be some of those who are struggling the most.
From school children who abruptly had their classroom lives taken away to those residents in nursing homes who have basically been required to stay in their rooms, individuals who already had limited mobility may not be getting the activity and stimulation that they need. Making sure that their wheelchair cushions at least remain clean and comfortable and knowing that shower chair seats remain functioning is an important part of making sure that some of these folks do not become even more vulnerable.
Consider some of these facts and figures about the population of people who rely on canes, walkers, and wheelchairs to access their everyday activities:
- The Census Bureau defines disability status through six types of questions which measure difficulty with hearing, vision, cognition, walking and climbing stairs, self-care, and independent living.
- More than 20 million people over the age of 18 have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs, and this population accounts for 7.1% of non-institutionalized people with disabilities.
- The latest research indicates that in countries with life expectancy beyond 70 years, people spend approximately wight years, which is 11.5% of their life span, living with disabilities.
- Around 98% of public transportation buses are appropriately equipped to accommodate people in wheelchairs, and many cities are using this time when fewer buses are in use or entire systems are shut down to make even more improvements.
- There are 2 million new wheelchair users in the United States every year, and there are many laws and regulations that dictate accessibility in public spaces.
In spite of all the regulations that are in place for public spaces for schools and other locations, when some people find themselves sheltering in place, they are sometimes forgotten and can actually feel trapped.