What’s your first thought when you see an older person in a wheelchair? Do you see that person as less-than, someone in need of being fixed? Do you assume they require special treatment, as though a physical disability impacts intellect as well? How does your thinking shift to see someone standing upright, without the need for a wheelchair; would you think they were better-abled than the wheelchair-bound older adult?
These are challenging questions that require honest answers if we are to understand and respond accordingly to hidden disabilities and ableism.
What Is Ableism?
Ableism is described as “the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior.” It leads to harmful misconceptions and stereotypes.
The Two Sides to the Disability Coin
Individuals with visible disabilities encounter ableism in many ways: exclusion from venues that are inaccessible, being spoken down to or asked intrusive questions, needing to wait to use an accessible restroom stall while in use by somebody who could be using a standard stall, etc. On the other hand, there are lots of disabilities that aren't as easily visible (for example, hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or a heart condition), accounting for up to 80% of the disabled population. These people may have their concerns minimized and need to fight harder to receive any accommodations needed.
No matter whether a disability is hidden or apparent, there are steps we should all take to promote equality and inclusion:
At Amy’s Helping Hands, we are focused on treating every person we serve with respect and dignity. We can help someone you love with a complete array of personalized in-home care services which can include:
Call us at 519-915-4370 for additional details on our home care services in the Windsor, Ontario area, and to request a free in-home consultation.