Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
by Sheryl Jedlinski
When I started relying on my walking sticks to get around, hotels posed new challenges to overcome. The issue of accessibility had invaded my corner of the world and I was determined to overcome its new challenges.
Finding an “accessible” hotel can be the difference between a memorable and a disastrous vacation. Not all accessible hotels are created equal. Newer ones are more likely built to architectural standards that promote greater accessibility.
“Accessible” means different things to different people. On more than one occasion I have been told that all accessible rooms are located on upper floors only. How accessible is this in an emergency when the elevators are not in service?
Avoid surprises at check-in. Call the hotel directly; preferably at an off hour when fewer people are competing for attention. Speak to an on-site employee who knows every detail of the property. People taking calls at a remote reservation center may have never visited the site.
Make questions as specific as possible. Does the bathroom have a roll in shower that can accommodate an adult wheel chair or wheeled shower chair and/or wall mounted shower? A shower/tub unit necessitating I reach across the tub to cling to grab bars while climbing over the side and into the tub is neither safe nor accessible for my needs.
Worst of all are toilets so low to the ground they appear to have been designed for Lilliputians. Neither grab bars nor pogo sticks would provide enough help to get me up.
At the other extreme are beds so tall, I cannot get into them without a short step stool or a team of Sherpas to give me a leg up. As a last resort, I have considered taking a running leap from one corner of the room to the bed, but lacking natural athleticism, I predict a bad outcome and abort the mission.
To best ensure that your hotel room meets your specific accessibility needs: