In recent years, there has been a huge movement for people with disabilities to claim their rights and demand equal treatment. With the topic of disability being overlooked and considered sensitive, people with disabilities made society aware that it’s only uncomfortable because it’s not spoken about more often. The movement called for the demand for accessibility in public spaces and the reformation of the language used to refer to people with disabilities as well as their media representation. Their efforts were not in vain and there is indeed more awareness regarding the topic. It’s now our duty as members of society to get educated on disability and address its still-existing prejudice.
If you are wondering how to play your part in assisting people with a certain disability like mobility issues, here are some ways you could help.
1. Ask Before You Help
It’s understandable that when seeing persons with mobility issues struggling and needing assistance to want to jump in and help them. However, assuming they need assistance without asking first is not advisable and may be taken in the wrong way. You would also not know what the person specifically needs assistance with and might end up doing more harm than good. On the other hand, it might seem to you that the person is struggling when they simply take more time and effort to do something. That’s why it’s advisable to ask first, not insist if they decline, and ask how they’d like to be assisted if they approve.
2. Install Home Modifications
If you live with someone with mobility issues, you should look to make them as comfortable as possible at home. Installing a few modifications in your home will go a long way in giving them a sense of independence and safety. The UK-based home modifications specialists over at https://www.stairlifthelper.co.uk/ suggest starting with installing a stairlift helper if your house has multiple storeys. They promote safety and hassle-free transfer for the person’s mobility aid equipment, whether it’s a wheelchair or crutches. You should also install bars in the bathroom, arrange furniture, so there’s a clear, spacious path, and make frequently used items within reach.
3. Be Aware of Space
People with mobility issues, whether using a mobility device such as a wheelchair or crutches, always need to be given enough space. Avoid having them in tight spaces or any space that will add to their limitations of movement. There’s also the matter of respecting their personal space; you cannot approach without asking first as established above. You should also consider their mobility aid device as part of that personal space, not touching it or leaning on their chair also for their own safety. Some persons with mobility issues are extremely sensitive to touch so always ask their permission before any physical contact.
4. Offer Flexibility
No matter your relationship with the person with mobility issues, the greatest assistance you can offer them is flexibility. If it’s a student, employee, or co-worker, they might need information presented in specific ways or certain modifications in their working space. You should also offer them flexibility regarding deadlines or exams by giving them more time to finish as well as offer spaces designed for their needs so they can be productive. Try to check accessibility in your destination before setting a meeting with a friend or loved one with mobility issues. The same kind of understanding and flexibility should be offered to the families of people with mobility issues when canceling appointments at the last minute, for example, or making special requests in any kind of setting.
5. Social Inclusion
It’s important to include people with mobility issues in social situations to enhance their confidence. To do so, people should get educated on using the proper terminology while conversing with them. For example, you should always use personhood before the disability as in ‘person in a wheelchair rather than ‘wheelchair-bound’. Your communication should be clear and direct, and you should listen to them patiently without trying to complete their sentences. Consider height when speaking to someone in a chair by sitting down to be on eye level, but never bend over as if talking to a child.
These are some of the best ways you can assist people with mobility issues, whether it’s someone you know or a coincidental encounter. Another great thing you can do is volunteer your time and effort with a charity that offers physical and emotional support to people with mobility issues. You can also be an advocate and educate people on the various mobility issues and how to deal with them. The most important thing to remember is to treat them as people first and foremost with the same respect and attitude as with anyone else.