Daily Problems and Challenges of Using a Wheelchair
The daily problems/ challenges of using a wheelchair, is mostly unrecognized by non-wheelchair users.
I hope, by highlighting some of those challenges in this article, everyone becomes more aware of them. So we can all work together to create a safer and fairer world for ourselves, our families and communities.
The problems include but are not limited to:
- Buildings with doorways, corridors or parking lots that are difficult / impossible to pass through, using a wheelchair. This makes it really difficult for wheelchair users to get things done. Things like shopping, visiting friends / relatives, e.t.c
- Rough, uneven, dangerously sloping grounds, make it really tiring to push wheelchairs – especially Manual Wheelchairs – around.
- Travelling by public transport – buses, trains, e.t.c takes a lot of time. The majority of time consumption comes from waiting for the buses to get low down enough, and then slide out the ramp access, so the wheelchair can go in. And then, getting off the transport as well. When you add this to the time it takes a wheelchair user to accomplish the daily care routine of washing, getting dressed, feeding… That is a lot of time out of a 24 hour day!
- Travelling by train also poses a lot more challenge to the wheelchair user than buses. Especially negotiating that gap between the train entrance and the platform.
- Health Problems such as Muscle Cramps and Pressure Sores. As a result of sitting in the wheelchair, or anywhere else – as wheelchair users need to, when not lying down – cramps and pressure sores are a great source of discomfort, concern and challenge.
- Motorists, Pedestrians and other road users pose another area of challenge to the wheelchair user. Being below the average line of vision while riding a wheelchair on the roads, means that one may not be quickly or clearly seen by others. This has been a cause of many road accidents involving wheelchair users.
- Finally, and just as important, is the attitude of the society – others – to wheelchair users. Others who do not use a wheelchair, find it a bit difficult to see through the eyes of one. Non-wheelchair users may talk down at one; Totally ignore one; Expect them to do more for themselves, notwithstanding the physical limitations… to mention a few.
All these challenges may seem overwhelming and force a wheelchair user to remain at home. This need not be the case though.
With more information on these challenges; A greater awareness of the available disability aids to overcome them; And an emphatic understanding from the society at large, these challenges can and will be overcome.
Let’s make the world safer and more wheelchair-user friendly. Especially as everyone, sooner or later, most likely will end up in one anyway!