In my life “before” (aka before life in a #wheelchair) I/we would get excited to be invited to an event/activity, now all I feel is anxiety and stress.
“Before,” my biggest concern was what to wear, is it a formal gathering or casual, is it evening or day and I was happy as can be choosing the perfect outfit for me and my honey! Now, my biggest concern has morphed into several concerns:
- Is the location wheelchair friendly
- Does the facility have a #Family_Restroom
- What day of the week and time is the event/activity
Is The Location Wheelchair Friendly
While most public venues are #wheelchair friendly/#accessible, there are still times when the building is not, resulting in us not attending, According to the article “… Including People With Disabilities in Your Party ” on HuffPost regarding “Physical #Access,” “. . . if your event is at a venue that is not physically accessible to all, move it to a place that is.”
Does The Facility Have A #Family_Restroom
This is major! If the facility does not have a #Family_Restroom, this is where the planning/timing begin. If I use the bathroom at home before we leave home I’m normally good for about 4-5 hours.
- How far away is the location – how long does it take to get there
- What time is event/activity scheduled to end, etc.
If travel time to and from and time spent at event/activity exceeds too much more than 5 hours, mostly likely we will not go. 🙁
What Day & Time Is The Event/Activity
Before, this wouldn’t be a concern, now, it’s a major concern. If an event is during a weekday, I can’t go because my honey is working and actually, I can’t go anywhere unless I’m with him. Why is this, well, not many have the strength to #1 lift me out of wheelchair to put me in their car, #2, lift my fold-able electric wheelchair (very heavy) and put in their car, #3 lift my wheelchair out of the car when we arrive at our destination, #4 lift me out of the car back into the wheelchair. Then, repeat the process when it’s time to leave. Not to mention, even if I was somehow able to get somewhere without him, I have no way to use the restroom if I need.
As a result, I’ve stopped meeting friends for lunch or drinks, I’ve stopped attend some family afternoon gatherings, I’ve stopped going to salon to get my hair done and so much more.
Do I understand that perhaps a very old church may not be accessible for me to attend a wedding or christening, yes, but the after party could be purposely held at an accessible location. Do I understand if friends/family hold a midweek mid-afternoon luncheon at a inaccessible location, not so much; this is where inclusion is a choice comes into play.
While I completely understand that some events/activities are held at locations, dates & times suited for the majority, I can’t help but feel that if including me in ones event/activity was important, then they would be held at a location and date/time that works for me too.