Accommodations for older people walking with difficulty

Here's how you can fill out a survey and/or participate in a discussion to let the Canadian government know what standards to set to ensure seniors don't have to walk too far or stand too long to receive government services.

Accommodations for older people walking with difficulty

If you have problems walking certain distances or standing for any length of time, it’s likely you faced difficulties when you had to visit a government agency to receive services.

Maybe the office was very far from your bus stop. Or, perhaps, when you were told to wait in line there was no place to sit and wait.

If that’s the case, here’s your chance to do something about it. You can participate in a project to let the Canadian government know what your needs are so that they can create laws to accommodate people with mobility problems.

As we age, many of us find our bodies don’t function as well as before. We may be still able to walk, but after a few feet, walking becomes painful or too tiring. We may still be able to stand, but only for a few minutes at a time.

We may not think of this as having a disability, but there’s a growing understanding that it is. It’s called a “hidden mobility disability”.

The term “hidden” disability is used because there may be no obvious, external signal (such as a cane or a wheelchair) that indicates the reduced capacity to walk or stand.

Now, just as other recognized disabilities are accommodated (eg ramps for people who use wheelchairs), there is a movement to ensure that those who can walk only short distances or stand for only short periods are also accommodated.

It’s estimated that half a million Canadians currently have hidden mobility disabilities. As the population ages, this number is set to rise.

However, there currently aren’t any standards in place that recognize and accommodate the needs of those with hidden mobility disabilities. How could things be done differently to make life easier for you and others for whom walking and standing can become painful and overwhelming?

What if laws could be put in place requiring that all government agencies be located not more than a specified number of feet from a bus stop?

Would it be helpful for you if there were a requirement that these offices have seating just inside the entrance so you could rest after the effort just to make it to the front door?

What about washrooms? Should there be a standard that says one must be located a specific distance from the front desk?

Here’s your chance to tell the authorities what you believe should be done.

The Hidden Mobility Disabilities Project is an effort to understand the needs of those who can walk for only short distances and stand for only short periods. It’s funded by a government agency (Accessibility Standards Canada) and looks at possible changes to federal accessibility standards needed to address the needs of those with hidden mobility disabilities.

There are two ways to participate. The first is filling out a survey to share your opinion. The second is by participating in a discussion on the subject.

“Participating in this survey is your chance to say what a more accessible Canada should look like,” the organizers say. “Your feedback can influence federal accessibility standards, creating a more accessible, and welcoming Canada for all.”

Click the underlined words to fill out the Hidden Mobility Disabilities Project survey.

You can also participate in the discussions. Click the underlined words to sign up to take part in the discussions about hidden mobility disabilities.

Finally, you can click this underlined link to read more details about the Hidden Mobility Disabilities Project.