Common Senior Citizen Accessibility Issues

During the natural process of aging, many people find their level of mobility decreasing until independence is a struggle. For these individuals, who were once active and important members of their families and of society, any measures taken to ensure their continued independence is a way of giving them continued dignity and freedom in their daily living.

Unfortunately, there are many public fixtures that prove to be obstacles for the elderly. These mobility impairments may be due to neglect, lack of awareness or lack of funds – but whatever causes it, the fact remains that it causes a lot of complications for seniors who struggle enough to get around independently as it is.

The following are some of the common difficulties the elderly must contend with when getting around.

Outdoor Accessibility

The most obvious example of this disservice to seniors is the lack of wheelchair accessibility on the road. And it’s not only seniors with wheelchairs who struggle with the lack of accessibility options. From steps with no ramp alternative to sidewalks that aren’t wide enough to allow individuals with rollators to get by, there are many pitfalls that outdoor places tend to have.

With ADA laws being as they are, there have been many improvements in recent years – but there is still so much more than can and should be done to allow seniors to have the ability to get around outside independently.

Indoor Accessibility

When seniors go shopping or even choose to visit an indoor attraction, there is even more adversity they have to face.

While some stores offer medical scooters with baskets to simplify shopping for people who can’t walk for more than a few minutes, other stores don’t even bother making a door that is accessible. For example, many convenience stores have one or more steps leading into the store, with no ramp for wheelchairs.

Likewise, some buildings, especially those built many years ago, are equipped with doorways that are far too narrow for a standard walker, wheelchair or other mobility device, making it difficult or even impossible for elderly individuals with impairments to navigate their rooms and hallways.

Some aging individuals may be able to get around on their own two feet – but sometimes they need a rest. Unfortunately, many places don’t have sufficient seating areas. This is one reason that walking aids with seats, such as rollators, are popular among older adults.

Another common problem is hotels, where bathtubs aren’t accessible to the elderly, grab bars are not present to help people steady themselves and toilets are often too low for people who can’t bend without pain. At the very least, hospitality places ought to have devices such as toilet seat risers, bedside commodes, temporary grab bars, bed rails, etc. These extra touches would make vacationing an option for more seniors.

Whether indoors or outdoors, there is much that can be done to make life easier for the elderly. And for the elderly and their caregivers, issues such as the ones mentioned are important things to keep in mind before heading out.

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