Here. We. Go. Again.
We had been in this exact predicament more than I care to explain. We were using an “accessible” bathroom on campus only to find ourselves lacking enough space to do what needed to be done. I crawled up on the toilet (yes… on the toilet) and over the sink to leave enough room for her to recline. Even then, I found myself wedged in between her chair and the wall. All I could do was think about how this restroom would never work for so many caretakers and disabled individuals.
Before Jacoby’s injury, I never thought twice about the size of an accessible restroom. But just like anything else in life, once it affects you or someone you love, you think about it all the time. The reality is that there are many different levels of disabilities; so when creating a restroom for this specific community, it needs to be designed so it can accommodate all levels.
We are not talking “luxury” accommodations, we are talking about the basic need of emptying the bladder. Think about it. Would someone in a wheelchair (that needs to recline back) be able to use the restroom at your favorite restaurant? Your church? Your gym? If not, say something! Honestly, half the battle is making people aware of the need; most people genuinely want to help.
Restrooms are EXTREMELY important to ALL of us,(especially as we age) but even more to a disabled individual. There is a reason why Jacoby and I know where every TRULY accessible bathroom is on campus. We will go through the whole process of loading up in the van, driving to the desired building, and unloading JUST to use one of these restrooms. Trust me, they’re a deal breaker.
So how can you help?
*Look around you; become an observer of accessible restrooms.
*Talk to your boss or managers regarding this specific issue.
*Talk to the owners of businesses and restaurants…
*Offer your time and/or resources to help make the changes needed.
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”–Mother Theresa