Social distancing these days for many of us who use wheelchairs can be complicated We use our wheelchairs and understand that we are always using distance to make sure we get around safely. But now, using social distancing to protect ourselves and prevent the possibility of contamination is more important now than ever before. Click the link to learn more about protecting yourself and your wheelchair from contamination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe social distancing as maintaining a distance of six feet between yourself and others. I have noticed that many people in the disability community are saying that social distancing for some is hard and that is “not at all possible to practice.” Social distancing might be fine for some, but it’s more difficult for others depending on their disability.
Using a wheelchair, it’s not difficult for me to social distance from others. I can take care of myself in and around my home and I am able to travel to the store with my van independently. Yet how are others handling social distancing when they might rely on public transportation sources? Some people may rely on caregivers for support at home. I wonder how difficult it is for them to practice social distancing, especially when they rely on close human contact? One thing I know is that most people who have disabilities are very aware of their specific needs and can educate those who are assisting them with the new guidelines.
I have noticed when I am at the store, I still see many people not practicing social distancing, and they are not wearing person protective equipment, such as masks, either. I make sure that when I am out, to stay more than six feet away from others. I do not want them touching my wheelchair, so I am always aware of my surroundings. I have a mask and wear it when I am out at the store. I use protective gloves when I pump my gas or when I touch the ATM screen or card reader machine when I pay for something. Then as soon as I leave the store, I throw those gloves away into the garbage before entering my vehicle. I am also more aware of my surroundings now.
I hope everyone is staying safe during this crisis, whether they are at home or out in public. For more information on COVID-19 and disabilities, please visit the CDC’s website.