Don't let the things you can't do  Stop you from doing the things you can Travel with a Disability

Information for people traveling with a wheelchair or other mobility devices or disability, from airlines to cruise ships we have the information to help you with your vacation planning, then just sit back and enjoy the trip.

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cost TIPS & TRIP PLANNING

Cost and Challenges
of being Disabled

challrnges

So you find yourself in a situation not of your choosing and now have a disability. Perhaps you where born with the disability, or at some point in your life developed it.

Being disabled has its challenges but if you have a positive attitude you will make the best of it and still live life to the fullest of your capabilities.

I find (myself included) that if you have lived a period of years fully able bodied and later develop a disability that you tend to keep it to yourself and not seek or use items that would help you get back your independence and freedom.

able bodied complaints

You sort of scratch your head in dismay when you overhear able bodied people complain about a long walk or having to wait in a long lineup, and then complain further when they see a wheelchair bypassing that lineup completely. 

I believe most if not all the disabled people I have met would all gladly take that long walk or wait in a long line up if we only could be fully able bodied person again. I have even said that on a couple of occasions that I would be more than happy to exchange places with you and be that able bodied person and let them be disabled and go to the front of the line.

At one time the city transit system where I live gave disabled people free rides on city buses, then what was happening sometimes is some people where faking disabilities in order to get free rides. I knew a bus driver personally and it was mentioned to me that there was incidents that they had one person pick up their walker and was running to catch the bus.  So now they changed the rules and provide disabled people with a bus pass not free but at reduced cost and you have to go through an approval process which you require your doctor to fill out part of the application and submit for approval.

Years ago I used to do most of my own vehicle repairs including changing one time a rack and pinion steering rack on my car, now after many years of gradual degrading of walking ability, none of that I can do anymore. So that is one example going from free labor having to pay the going mechanic rates to get repairs down to my vehicle.

Doctors are under a legal obligation to report to the ministry any health concerns that could affect a person ability to drive safely.  I have had they question come up several times, I knew my ability to quickly move between gas and brake pedals was an issue due to reduced strength in the legs, I on my own got a subscription from the doctor and had controls installed in the car, this allowed me to continue driving safely without using my feet to control the car, it also satisfied my doctors that I could continue driving safely. So now whenever the question comes up, I just say I have hand controls installed in the car and that usually satisfies any safety concerns that the doctor may have.

Those hand controls however cost almost one thousand dollars to install and most insurance companies will not cover these as driving is considered a privilege and not a necessity. However I am still able to work and the transit system does not work for me as I work shifts that constantly change throughout the rotation. Have you ever taken a bus in rush hour when it is packed and has standing room only, priority seating is there and passengers are under an obligation to give up their seat to a disabled person but able bodied people will sometimes think they got there first and is very reluctant to give it up, also as one driver mentioned once that they will not force 30 people off to get one wheelchair on, not something I want to deal with getting to and from work. I am not able to walk from the bus stop to home or to work. The city runs a Para transit system but you cannot book a month at a time if you are not on a fixed work day, if a shift worker you have to call every single day to book the next day, simply was not workable, my own vehicle was the only choice. Yet the insurance company that would have been faced with paying for many years Long Term Disability benefits to me if I could not work or get to work, still refused to pay for the hand controls as it was not a covered item in the policy.

Now if you require to bring your wheelchair where ever you go, then you need transportation that allows you with roll on capabilities, I am headed that way, and will be looking to but a van within the next year and having it adapted for both hand controls and capable of lifting, rolling on and carrying a power wheelchair, my current station wagon is not capable of carrying that. The station wagon can carry a travel type scooter that comes apart, but someone has to do that for me as the weight factor of each piece would be very difficult for me to get in and out of the vehicle. Specialized Para Transit is an option only if you have the same pickup and drop off every work day of the month, otherwise useless, and just to go places you have to plan your life in advance, I prefer the freedom to decide to go somewhere when I get the urge to.

Along with that you may need modification to your home, you cannot leave a wheelchair outside, and you cannot leave in the garage where climate at certain times of the year can be extreme cold or hot.  Cold is likely the worst problem and can affect the life of the battery and motors on the wheelchair. So now the disabled person has to have ramps installed, possibly an extension / build up to the porch area to make the door sill, all this costs money. Money that an able bodied never has to spend.

You may have to have an automatic garage door opener installed, able bodied people do that because they are too lazy to get out in all types of weather to open and close the door, so what may be just a convenience for able bodied people is a necessity for a disabled person.

Repairs around the home that you once where able to do, now you cannot.

Now for some we struggle up and down the staircase in the home, lift chairs can be installed that makes it easier ($$), bathrooms may also have to modified. For some moving to a bungalow is an option.

Disable people tend to shop at locations that has the most accessibility, and avoid other shopping locations.

Ever watch the disabled parking spots and the people that park in them, some of those parking in them and you simply cannot detect what kind of disability they have. Others just park in them because they think it is rarely enforced, and then you get someone like myself that if I cannot get a good parking spot I simply have to move on and not go into that store at that time. This gets worse around Christmas when shopping parking lots are packed. If I was fully able bodied again I would have no issues if I had to park at the very end of the parking lot.

Ever get ticked off when you are in a restaurant or anywhere for that matter and someone from the restaurant or shop asked you able bodied companion 'would he like this' unless there is a communication issue then why are they not asking the disabled person themselves. There is a good lot of disabled people that have far more intelligence than some able bodied people I have met.

City planners or any companies that are responsible for designing and building structures should always have a couple of disabled people on their planning committee, even cruise ship builders should do the same. It is nothing like fully able bodied people to think they know what is accessible. Accessible often means no stairs and doors wide enough for a wheelchair to an able bodied person. However if the door requires superman to open, have they achieved full accessibility? Sidewalks that where designed to allow a wheelchair to pass is not accessible when it is not wide enough to allow for a large volume of people and a sign or display that the store owner sticks on the sidewalk making it impassible for a wheelchair. A door opener button that some idiot put in the wrong place so once you push it you must move quickly or the door hits you as it opens, or does not stay open long enough.

Always investigate what funding options are available to you in making modifications to your home or vehicle and mobility equipment, doctors, OT's and wheelchair vendor's should be a good source of information to start with. Some funding is based on financial circumstances, which means if you are still working and making good income you may not gratify to the extent of someone who is on disability benefits. What you may be entitled to will also vary depending on where you live.

Ok that is the end of my rant, but I think you all know the challenges involved.

By: Donald Kerr

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Donald Kerr /  Travel with a Disability
https://www.travelwithadisability.com/