There is accessible.
And then there’s truly accessible. And almost nothing for my needs is truly accessible.
When I was in the shelter world, working amongst folks who are homeless, we talked a lot about ‘affordable’ versus ‘truly affordable‘ housing. Affordable housing was calculated based 30% of a person’s income. So if you made $48,000 in Toronto, you would pay around $1200 for a bachelor apartment. That is ‘affordable’. But if you are bringing in about $15,000 a year, which is generous if you are on welfare, a third of your income would be about $380 per month for a bachelor pad. There is almost nothing in Toronto that comes close to that. So there is almost nothing in Toronto that is ‘truly affordable’ for folks trying to get off the streets.
But I digress…
In my world now I am stealing those terms for use in my own world of accessibility. There is ‘accessible’ and then there is ‘truly accessible’.
The sidewalks in Toronto are considered accessible. But if there is a car or delivery van parked on them, or if there is a bicycle riding along it, or if it is garbage day, there is no way for someone in a wheelchair to use the sidewalk. It is accessible I guess but not truly accessible. I was riding down the street the other day in my wheelchair and a cop slowed down beside me and suggested I ride on the sidewalk. It was garbage day so I suggested he look at the sidewalks and tell me whether or not they were something I could actually use. He then kept on going…
In the summer I see lots of pictures on Facebook of people swimming and enjoying a cottage vacation. Oh how I miss those days. How I long to be able to spend a week by a lake somewhere.
Well there are accessible motels and hotels and cottages, but I can’t seem to find any truly accessible versions of those for me.
Truly accessible would require not only the ability for me to get in and out of the cottage or motel in my wheelchair, but have the ability for me to be lifted out of my chair into a bed and vice versa. That would require some sort of lift to be able to pick me up out of the chair and put me down in bed. As of yet I have not been able to find anything that fits my needs. There are a fair number of accessible places but as of yet I haven’t been able to find any that are truly accessible. Even then I would need to pay a PSW to come with me so that they could help me get dressed each morning, help me go to the bathroom, and help me get ready for bed each night. Erinn and I would do that if there was a place that was truly accessible.
So for three years now, other than the occasional hospital stay that lasted four or five days, I have only been able to sleep here in my home.
I’m not complaining!
I know that many would love to have what I have. After all, as I just spoke about, I have worked alongside many folks who are homeless because they simply cannot afford a place to live.
I am truly grateful for what I have.
But man would I ever love to find a place that could accommodate my needs.
Anyhoo, for now I will live vicariously through looking at pics of people on Facebook who are swimming, and remembering the good ole days.
I will also be thankful not to be having a five day summer vacation in the hospital.
That’s something I guess.