If you’re accustomed to working with people who use wheelchairs, you probably have a good understanding of wheelchair etiquette. However, if you’re new to caring for, working with or living near a person in a wheelchair, you might not be sure how to act around them. EZ-ACCESS has experience working with a variety of disabled customers and their caregivers, and it can be frustrating for them when the people they interact with don’t have the best etiquette. Check out our list of wheelchair etiquette that can help make you a better person and caregiver and make your town more accessible to everyone who lives there. You might just find some ideas you’ve never considered before.
- Don’t automatically hold on to or lean on someone’s wheelchair. If you’re good friends, it’s fine, but otherwise it can be distracting and uncomfortable.
- Offer assistance, but don’t insist. They’ll say yes if they need help.
- Always talk to the person in the wheelchair instead of a caregiver unless they are unable to talk.
- If you can, sit down to share the same eye level when you’re talking.
- Practice referring to people in a wheelchair as just that – “in a wheelchair”.
- Don’t pity people in wheelchairs; talk to them about the cool things that come along with using a wheelchair.
- Encourage your community to put curb cuts on all sidewalks. They’re inexpensive and help wheelchair users to be independent.
- Write to your city to encourage the implementation of ramps at various city buildings and parks. Better yet, encourage the city council committees responsible for transportation, building and zoning to include members in wheelchairs or at least consult with people who use wheelchairs in your community. That way, all projects will be accessible to everyone.
- Just be yourself. People in wheelchairs don’t expect special treatment, just fair treatment. Don’t be nervous about interacting with someone in a wheelchair.
We hope these tips help you feel more prepared to work with or help someone in a wheelchair in your community. Once you start thinking about the accessibility of people with varying levels of mobility, you start to see where you and your town could use improvement. If you’re looking for products to make your home or business more accessible, see what we have to offer here!