Positive feedback is as important as negative feedback, even more, important I think. In an area like accessibility, it is really easy to get caught up telling people and places what they did wrong and easy to forget to mention what they did right. Recently, I attended the wake of a wonderful lady. Her family has been part of mine since I was born. I, in fact, regard them as my family, so of course, I went to pay my respects and support them. No matter where I go accessibility affects me in one way or another. Believe it or not, I can not check my disability at the door and pick it up at a more appropriate time.
When I entered, of course, I had to make a beeline for the restroom. I expected the hardest conditions for me, considering the age of the house, but once again I was pleasantly surprised. The bathroom was not only accessible with grab bars of appropriate lengths, but they were placed correctly around the toilet without any obstructions. I was even able to wash and dry my hands without assistance.
Leaving the bathroom, I scanned the floor ahead of me, something I always do, I noticed in the doorway directly in front of me the threshold had been removed. Replacing threshold or transition strip with a piece of wood that was flush with the connecting rooms. that hallway directly connected with the viewing room which they had installed wall to wall high traffic carpet, making it very easy for me to maneuver on.
I drove up (actually my mother drove), to this lovely large blue Victorian, and parked in the driveway, in the designated handicapped spot. An employee of the funeral home was there to offer assistance. To my delight, the spot was direct to the right of the ramp. The ramp was beautifully built right into the house’s wrap-around porch, hence not creating any kind of “eyesore”. Also, I noted while maintaining the character and beauty of the house, the ramp was usable meaning not too steep, flush to the ground, and very secure.
Funeral homes are almost always located in a beautiful old house. They are known for their luxurious woodwork, thick plush carpets, and ornate throw rugs. I’m sure these designs are comforting and calming to some, but to me ( a wheelchair user) they are built-in barriers. I feel like needing someone to push you in a viewing line, over wood doorways from room to room, as well as to help you shuffle to a teeny tiny bathroom too small for two people let alone a wheelchair, somehow you being of any kind of support to your family is lost under those conditions. The focus in the room suddenly shifts and to you making you the one in need.
Despite the reason I was there, the funeral home demonstrated the ease small changes that can be made to ensure a safe and comfortable time for all. During my research, after the fact, I found a handicapped symbol on the website. This is not always the case because it is not always accurately portrayed. I am happy to say that in this case, the funeral home should be proud to represent that well known blue wheelchair user. To most people thresholds and carpet mean very little, but to me, it means that I am able to support my family in their time of need. That to me is priceless. So good job on accessibility Arthur P. Graham Funeral Home in Wuborn, Ma!! Now if places for the living would follow their lead!