Before I was officially “handicapped”, I took for granted so many things that have now become obstructions to every day living. 

Attempting to read the ADA guidelines is similar to opening a book in another language, when all I really need to know is the basics. What is a hotel, restaurant, retail establishment, public restroom etc. required to provide. The answer to these questions has become a very grey area, depending on where you are and what you are trying to accomplish.

Since we do a lot of hotel hopping, I will begin with them. 

For some ridiculous reason handicap rooms can be on any floor of a hotel, which in the event of an emergency recommends not using the elevator. Well, duh!

Doors to a room are extremely heavy, some have a peep hole to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.

Once in the room you should be able to move around the room comfortably without running into furniture. 

The biggest discrepancy I have found is with the bathroom.

Obviously, a handicap room is required to provide bars around a toilet that is also a taller seat height than a standard toilet. It is ironic that the bathroom mirror is always installed too high to actually use. I guess the handicapped community doesn’t need to look in a mirror. Ha!

A tub or roll in shower is an option you can choose depending on your own preference. Hotels are required to provide a pulldown seat or a shower bench or chair. I have always felt most comfortable with a tub that provides a bench that hooks over the edge of the tub and legs that fold down inside of the tub. Easy to slide in and out.

FYI: I believe it was a hotel in Jackson Hole that had a large roll in shower, beautifully tiled walls and base, but didn’t provide a single grab bar or shelf. I had to turn over a trash can to hold shampoo and soap. Another time while staying at a Hampton Inn in Riverton, WY, the hotel provided me with the bench that sits half in and half out of the tub. Feeling secure I showered and while drying off the inside legs collapsed under me and I slid off hitting my head on the tile behind me. Not an easy position to be pulled out of. Turns out, there is a small pin attached to a chain underneath the bench that securely locks the legs into place. It was missing on this bench. After contacting the manager, he informed us that maintenance checks the benches every three months and offered no compensation for the incident. He did mention that all Hampton Inns installed handicap swimming pool lifts at a cost of $9000 a piece in the last year. I will ask; have you ever seen the lift being used in a hotel pool? Yeah, me either. So wherever you stay, always check the chair, bench or fold down seat before you bathe or shower.

Enough for today!

I will discuss more ADA discrepancies in my next post.

Happy Thanksgiving!