Many Americans are living their daily lives with a physical disability, one that affects how their body operates. Statistics and trends show that more Americans than ever are living their lives with such disabilities, but the good news is that plenty of them are able to have active lifestyles despite their physical handicap. In fact, inclusive excursions, dignified lateral slides, wheelchair alterations, and more allow the disabled to have a more active lifestyle than ever before. Someone bound to a wheelchair or using a walker or cane does not have to sit idle and watch everyone else pass them by. Due to modern innovations and a conscious effort to be more inclusive of the disabled, these people may enjoy a active lifestyle than disabled individuals in generations past could. How often do Americans live their lives with a disability, and how can modern innovations keep them included in society?
Rates of Disability
Being disabled does not have to entirely be a curse. No one exactly relishes the idea of being physically disabled, but o0n the plus side, they can get access to plenty of help and accommodations to minimize their disability’s impact on their lives. This will vary from case to case, but given how many Americans today live with a disability, it can be encouraging. Around the world, for a large-scale reference, around 10% of the population lives with a disability, some 650 million people or more. Among the world’s poorest, that rate is higher, at 20%.
In the United States in particular, the Census Bureau has defined a disability as a status that measures difficulty with six areas: hearing, vision, cognition, walking or climbing on stairs, self-care, and finally, the capacity for independent living. A number of physical or mental disabilities may interfere with a person’s capacity to do one or more of those things. Today, in the United States, just over 20 million people aged 18 and over have significant challenges with climbing or walking up stairs, and that accounts for 7.1% of all non-institutionalized people who have disabilities of one kind or another.
What is more, statistics show that from 2010 to 2016, the American civilian population showed a rise of disability rates from 11.9% to 12.8%, and now, around 3.6 million people aged 15 and over are using a wheelchair. Aside from wheelchair users, another 11.6 million people are regularly using walking assistance devices such as canes, walkers, or crutches. Often, it is the elderly who use canes or walkers, and someone recovering from an injury may use crutches as they walk.
As mentioned earlier, even if someone has a disability that limits their mobility, they can enjoy a relatively active lifestyle in some capacity or other. Some disabled Americans have paralyzed legs, such as from a car accident or spinal cancer, and others have broken legs that are healing or have had one or both legs amputated. But that does not have to mean a life spent being bedridden. Rather, such a person can use a wheelchair of their preferred type, either moved by hand or motorize,d and get around. They can expect many accommodations in public for them.
Someone who is wheelchair bound is lower than someone who is walking upright, and wheels cannot easily handle rough terrain or stairs. For these reasons and more, many handicap-friendly features may be found in public. Many sidewalks and curbs include smooth, gentle slopes to allow a person with a wheeled walker or a wheelchair to go up or down without issue, and many buildings have a wheelchair access ramp near the front stairs. Even schools and apartments may have such features. In a parking lot, the slope for wheelchair users may be painted with blue lines, with blue being a coded color for the disabled. Similarly, some parking spots near the building will be handicap-only, featuring distinctive blue lines and wide zones where a person may easily get in and out of a vehicle while in a wheelchair. Finally, many buses and even vans have a motorized platform that may allow a wheelchair user to get on, then raise them into the vehicle or lower them back out of it. Many buses also have a spacious, dedicated zone on the floor for wheelchair or walker users.