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Accessibility impossibilities

As I travel America's highways and byways, sharing my stories about living with Parkinson's, I've found that not all "handicapped accessible" hotel rooms are created equal. The deal breaker is almost always the bathroom, so that's what I check first upon arrival.

Glancing into the bathroom at our boutique hotel in Memphis, I discovered that our "handicapped accessible" room required I climb over the two-foot high side of a shower/tub enclosure in order to "freshen up." Granted there were grab bars, but only along the unit's back wall. Even if I could lean in and reach far enough to get a firm hold of the grab bar, I surely would end up going over the tub head first. Simply attaching grab bars to one wall of the unit is not enough to ensure guest safety.

Often I find I am better off requesting a room (accessible or not) with a stand alone, walk-in shower. Problem solved?



Not so much. Now I am faced with a toilet that has no grab bars and is so low to the ground it appears to have been designed for lilliputiens.The bed, on the other hand, is so tall, I have to take a running leap to get in it. Perhaps if the hotel split the difference between the heights of the bed and the toilet the room could be truly accessible.

Although it has been more than 20 years since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, those of us with special needs still face multiple challenges, especially while travelling. Just as others fought for the rights we take for granted today, we must continue working to protect and advance the rights of all people with disabilities.

Sheryl and the accessible room - its big bed



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