Walking in my shoes – accessibility explained
Elizabeth Walsh is a founding member of Clonakilty Access Group and current Chair. She fosters the idea that there is a whole range of business opportunities being lost as a result of lack of accessibility; people with disabilities, their friends and family, will give patronage where they can access. Out of this ‘Clonability’ was born, an initiative between Clonakilty Access Group and Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, whereby, simple steps are laid out to enhance business opportunity through providing access to customers/visitors, encouraging tourism.
Each and every day our lives impact on each person’s life whose path we cross, metaphorically and physically, positively or negatively!
What has happened to our world? How did we spiral into living in such incredibly challenging uncharted times?
What does this mean to people with disabilities (PWD)? Are they different? Do they face the same challenges, different challenges to the general population?
PWD who need to use aids such as wheelchairs, walking aids, long canes, need to interact with their environment in a manner, which they cannot avoid. In theory, their aids and appliances need to be disinfected along with their hands each time they leave and return home in order to stay safe. Now more than ever, they require their valued designated disabled drivers parking bays.
PWD may welcome assistance to clean their wheelchair or walking aids thoroughly. This will aid in protecting their health.
Many PWD have reduced immunity and may need to reduce contact or to remain or isolate at home. They may require support or additional support to assist with shopping for groceries, pharmacy prescriptions, pet food and any emergency needs.
At present, many PWD may have a family member, friend or carer who will help, however, if one person in the circle of support become ill or indisposed, a vulnerable person may be left in need. Please be alert to everyone’s needs.
Unfortunately, we live in an age when ID is required for everyone and everything. Scams run around like an unstoppable virus in themselves. It is imperative that the privacy of PWD is respected remembering that everyone does not come with a good heart and good intentions. People generally may be wary cautious of unannounced/unknown/unsolicited callers, both due to security risk and to Covid-19 distancing/isolation measures.
In West Cork, we live in small communities, be aware. Ensuring that someone you may know who might need additional support and who might not access social media or the Internet has a list of contact numbers for Gardaí, Gardaí-vetted assistance or neighbours.
This is really a time when everyone needs to take of everyone else and those who are more vulnerable may require more assistance. Please be vigilant!
We all have it in our power to change and alter everyone’s life that we come into contact with or in these times, do not come into contact with, now more than ever! Remember, make that phone call, stay in touch! Stay safe!