That’s because someone who never had to care for loved ones designed most of the handicapped stalls I’ve used.
I cared for my mom for more than five years. She had Alzheimer’s, and she HATED confined spaces. In the later years of her disease, I often took her to appointments in a wheelchair to minimize her aggravation.
(Did you know that changing floor patterns can trigger agitation in those with dementia? So can cold and taking them from wide to narrow spaces.)
I challenge the average 150-pound adult to roll a wheelchair into a handicapped stall,squeeze their way past the wheelchair, then lift their loved one from the chair, strip off their underpants and pants while securing them, then safely seat their loved one, without cursing the wheelchair crammed up their own rear end? This is even more fun when you’re working with your elderly father-in-law. And it’s also exciting when you’re transferring a child with CP and seating them sideways on the toilet so they can grip the bar and not the germ-infested toilet seat to maintain their balance.
People who design handicapped stalls would benefit from spending time with all sizes and shapes of people with a variety of needs, in order to learn what works and doesn’t work for them.
We need to be committed to becoming experts in the needs of others. In seeing hurt from their perspective. in walking in their shoes. Lisa Copen, a friend and colleague, lives with chronic illness. She’s founded an amazing resource for those who live with chronic illness–Rest Ministries. I encourage your church to learn from Lisa–she offers great wisdom and resources.
What’s YOUR experience in being supported in your chronic illness?