Social Isolation: How to Make Communities More Accessible When "New Normal" Begins

BraunAbility Drive For Inclusion

Social Isolation is Nothing New for People with Disabilities

While much of the general population is now experiencing social isolation for what may be the first time in their lives, many people with disabilities who don’t have access to personal accessible vehicle options are all-too accustomed to the feeling. Imagine the host of problems that cause many people with disabilities to be trapped within their home.

1.  No wheelchair ramp access at their home.

Many people with disabilities may not have an accessible entrance to their home and therefore can’t leave without assistance and a great deal of effort. Organizations like SAWs exist around the country with an aim to build ramps free-of-cost to people who need them. For perspective, in Indiana alone, there are over 130 requests for ramps at the time of this article’s writing. 

2. No accessible vehicle transportation.

After conquering the accessible entry, people with physical disabilities need accessible transportation and often government or private transportation contractors are expensive and unreliable. An ambulance ride can cost in the neighborhood of $600, while other accessible transportation may be cheaper, in the realm of $20-50, their window of service can be as wide as 3 hours in either direction of your requested pickup and therefore often can’t be counted on for time-sensitive appointments or events. BraunAbility dealers offer rentals for people with disabilities and their families for the day, week, or longer rental periods that can often help for short-term needs. But then that brings us to point three. 

3. A lack of accessible destinations.

Many people are lamenting that restaurants, bars, offices, and more are all closed and therefore even if you were able to get out, often service wouldn’t be available to you when you arrived. Now imagine: this is always the case for people with physical disabilities. Though the Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses to make accessible accommodations for people with disabilities, this often is not adequately addressed by more businesses than you might realize. A lack of push plates, grab bars in restrooms, ramps, accessible aisleways – without the proper attention, all of these could be barriers to service and the frustration you are feeling now as an American without a mobility aid pales in comparison to the frustration felt by millions of Americans who do and who can’t receive service on a daily basis.

Imagine how isolating this is for people. Imagine how much changing one restaurant, one bank, one corporate office – could have a huge impact for others with disabilities.

How Can I Make My Community More Accessible?

Audit Your Business for Accessibility

Hire an accessibility expert to audit your building and give recommendations for how to more adequately meet the needs of people with disabilities. The National Disability Authority has a free download that gives building guidelines to help new businesses or businesses who are looking for accessible improvements. These recommendations extend from accessible parking guidelines to wheelchair accessible and ADA-compliant bathroom design.

A full audit will help you address your opportunities to improve your building’s accessibility and get you started on an implementation plan. Work with your local permit office to find specialists in your area.  

Maintain or Install Accessible Parking Spaces

Accessible parking, especially handicap van parking with connected access aisles, are extremely important for our customers who use vehicles with integrated ramp or lift systems and for people who have traditional vehicles but require the transfer into a wheelchair. That extra space is necessary in order to enter and exit the vehicle and in turn access your place of business. Do your part to protect your customers by updating signage, repainting your lot or go the extra mile and install your own BraunAbility 3D Access Aisle.

The 3D Access Aisle design was intended to mimic a physical barrier to capture driver’s attention and discourage people from seeing the striped area as a parking space. Not only does it keep this space clear for people who need it, it also looks fantastic. BraunAbility will be providing a free 3D parking space download soon. Check back at this page for additional announcements. 

Join the Drive for Inclusion

If you are a person with a disability or an advocate for the disability community, join the Drive for Inclusion.

BraunAbility’s Drive for Inclusion is a movement started to help improve the lives of people with disabilities and their caregivers. While BraunAbility as a manufacturing business is concerned with the production of accessible vehicles and other mobility vehicle components, as a team we knew there was more we could be doing to help our customers and others like them.

We developed the Drive for Inclusion to work with local communities to look for ways of filling in the gaps of accessibility. We started with parking and frequently ask the Driving Force, our team of survey respondents, to test new offers, new products, and tell us where to focus our efforts.

Lend your voice to help us lend a hand.

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