As we look forward to the summer months this blog discusses some of the challenges we may come across as a result of being a wheelchair user but also recommends solutions in order to make this summer one to remember.
1 Tackling obstacles on summer adventures
Everyone enjoys a summer adventure such as visits to the local park, the zoo, countryside or watching the sunset along a sandy beach. However, rocky paths, muddy puddles and even the odd fallen branch or two can spoil the fun for a wheelchair user, and why all plans with friends has, to begin with lots of questions and pre-planning to avoid a last minute journey home as friends spend an evening on a sandy beach that has an unsuitable surface.
If you find that you are unable to tackle certain terrains in your current wheelchair, the P4 Country wheelchair 4×4, is a chair capable of solving this problem. Designed to get through doorways, the P4 all-wheel-drive electric wheelchair makes it possible to drive indoors but its main benefit will be in the country, in your garden and in the city. It will cope readily with surfaces other wheelchairs find difficult: gravel, pebbles, grass and cobblestones.
Check out the P4 Wheelchair in action:
2 Keeping up with friends on long days away
Leading an active and independent lifestyle in your manual chair has many benefits. However, it can take a physical toll on users over their lifetimes. We all want to enjoy the long summer days away with friends, but an active lifestyle in a manual chair could potentially be derailed over time by the limitations of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. It is understandable if you don’t want to use a full power wheelchair, but you also don’t want to limit your activity because of a lack of energy.
Power assist wheelchairs to provide a good solution as they help you confidently and safely navigate the terrain with discreet electronics that direct quiet motors to provide either a smooth boost of power or gentle breaking as required. The Tailwind is smart enough to provide you just the right amount of assistance for any given situation.
3 Using Public Transport
Getting around on public transport is something many of us take for granted but can be more difficult if you are a wheelchair user, the thought of getting on the bus can be scary.
However, with a trained driver to assist you the ramp is simple, it only takes a few minutes to setup and all public transport is now fitted with wheelchair space.
You should contact the relevant transport operator to find out what help their staff can provide. You usually have to give at least 24 hours notice. It’s best to phone to check every part of your journey. For trains, there’s, which is a centralised planning and booking service.
Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else, they provide support and further information on accessing public services.
4 Finding suitable accommodation for your summer holiday
There is nothing worse after a long, uncomfortable flight to find out that your “accessible” accommodation has a few “small” steps, or a bathroom unable to fit your wheelchair in. Ideally, you want to be certain that your accommodation can and will cater for your needs. After all, everyone needs a decent night sleep, especially on holiday!
To increase the chances of your holiday being smooth, easy and simple, here are useful tips:
1- Contact the accommodation prior to your stay. This way you can explain your needs and requirements and get confirmation that the accommodation is fully accessible.
2- Separate your must-haves from your nice-to-haves. This may mean contacting your accommodation and working out what they have available to you (i.e. they may have a hoist available for hire, meaning you won’t need to take yours).
5 Finding accessible toilets
We’ve all been there. You go out to eat at a restaurant, and you find that it is not accessible.
Either there are stairs, the interior space is too tightly packed with furniture, and, my personal favourite, you can get into the restaurant, but the toilet lacks proper accessibility and you cannot even get into it.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, let the staff member know what you require, and do not be afraid to politely advocate for your needs. Sometimes the staff is hesitant and/or unsure of what to ask, so your self-advocacy eases this tension for everyone and gets you what you need to have a good experience. Remember that it is important to be specific and to remain calm and polite.
Another solution is to check out DisabledGo.com – where you can find accessibility information for loads of places across the UK, including hotels, restaurants, theme parks, shops, cinemas, tourist attractions and lots more.
It’s completely understandable to worry about barriers you may come across as you prepare to get out and about over the summer months, but follow these simple steps, and you’ll decrease the chances of something going wrong.