The average number of people with disabilities in Nigeria is placed at about 25 million with about 3.6 million of them having difficulty in functioning. This was according to a report made in 2011 by the World report on disability, we can safely assume that a good percentage of disabled people have to survive on wheelchair. Unfortunately, Nigeria still remains a developing country in various health and social responsibility aspects and doesn’t adequately provide for such people. People in wheelchairs are often relegated in their experiences and ability to move around, simply because of the lack of proper infrastructure.
As a person living with disabilities or family to such persons, travelling or moving around will definitely be a challenge. But with the increase in technology and social consciousness, moving around in wheelchairs is way more achievable. In a relatively urban city like Lagos, there are way more options that will ease movement for people in wheelchairs. Here are a few tips to help you make that trip with less stress.
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5 Wheelchair Travelling Tips
The most important aspect of any trip is pre-planning. Even a trip to the mall needs some adequate planning. Taking into cognizance the capacity of your wheelchair and the limitations. Carrying out enough checks before you set out will save you a load of awkwardness and accidents. With the help of google mas and stuff, you can get information on basically any location.
Map your route in advance
If you have an idea where you are going, if you are spending the night and all, you can successfully plan a route. This allows you choose only wheelchair accessible places on your way. Book your hotel in advance and if you are visiting anywhere try talk to a contact person to make sure they have facilities to accommodate you. Also, read personal reviews and if possible talk to people who have been to the places you are going. It helps to have first-hand information about smoothness of roads, width of doorways and such minute details. You also get to avoid long winding stairs and steep inclines
This is probably the best thing you can do. You get ease of cabs, and you would want to stay on ground floors or units that wont stress you in moving around. If you’d be taking buses how far is the stop from or to your destination? Eateries, parks and other public places are also to be checked out. You’d want to consider bathroom facilities too.
Always have a plan B
Lets face it, even the best laid plans can always buckle up with some unprecedented eventuality. So, despite all your plans, its best to have at least a few other options. If you might have any injuries you might also want to go around with your meds, or spare parts for the chair, and definitely extra cash. If you have and use them, you could take along crutches for those places you can use them.
Always go with a trusted partner
Make sure your travel partner is someone who doesn’t freak out easily and can be very helpful and supportive. And its better if the person has a good knowledge of the places you are going.
Overall, having a disability might be a downer, but its definitely not enough to quit all socialization. Good mental and physiological health requires constant access to nature and even going out with friends. Being in a wheelchair isn’t reason to be housebound, get excited, plan a trip and enjoy life. Have you travelled on a wheelchair before or been with someone who was? Please feel free to share your experience and helpful tips.