I’m about to tell you about something which probably doesn’t affect you today. But it’s important you read it because there is quite a high probability that it might affect you or someone you love in the future and there is something you can do about it now!
You see before this affected my family it never crossed my mind that this was a problem either and we are all guilty of sometimes living in ignorant bliss and only dealing with things when they do actually happen to us.
This issue probably affects someone you already know either in real life or on social media, although they might not want you to know.
What am I on about?
Well before I explain any further let me just say it is not glamorous and it is not something we tend to talk about but it IS something we all do every single day, several times a day actually.
The contents of this post itself might even put you off reading it but I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do read it, do get to the end and do help us to do something about it for all of our futures.
You see there is something happening in public toilets throughout our country which you are probably not aware of but will be shocked by, I’m sure it will disgust you and make you cringe just like it does me.
Would you be shocked if I told you that behind the toilet door in any of our high street stores, restaurants, cinemas etc there could be a disabled child laying on the floor having their nappy changed? Yes you read that right… ON THE FLOOR!
Why on the floor? Because they are too big for a baby changing table. They cannot stand and their disability means they need to wear a nappy. There is no where else for them to lay down except on the floor.. where there are 77,000 germs and viruses! The floor you probably wouldn’t even lay your handbag (that’s why they provide you with a hook!)
But most places provide disabled toilets don’t they? Yes and they’re nice and big, have lots of room, grab handles to help the user get on the toilet etc.. brilliant right? Well actually no.. they’re not really as good as we have all been led to believe they are because they are ONLY usable by disabled people who can stand up or weight bare to self transfer.
And it isn’t just disabled children that are affected by our disabled toilets being so.. well.. crap quite frankly.
Severely disabled adults have a far worse scenario.. they don’t have the luxury of laying on the floor with the 77,000 germs and viruses because they are too big / heavy to be lifted! Bet that didn’t even occur to you did it!
It didn’t occur to me either!
So those disabled adults (and by adult I really mean anyone who is too big to be lifted, so they could actually be as young as 9/10) face a far grimmer reality.. one I would not want to face myself.
They have to wear and use a nappy or pad to relieve themselves when they are away from home. They may not need to wear one at home because they can use a toilet (just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you are incontinent) but when they leave the house they have no choice, how degrading and embarrasing is that! Most women don’t even like to wear sanitary towels!
So not only do they have a disability to deal with which makes their lives incredibly difficult.. now they are expected to sit in pee or worse when they are trying to enjoy life.
Imagine how many times you pop to the loo when you are at the shops, or out for coffee etc. Every single time you do that just remember, you could have to sit in it until you go home, imagine how embarrassing it would be to sit next to your friends until you can get cleaned up!
There is a simple answer to this.. one which would make it far more dignified, safe and hygienic for all disabled people. Hoist assisted toilets are large disabled toilets which also provide an adult sized changing bench and a lifting hoist, these allow everyone with a disability to have access to a toilet which meets their continence needs.
As I said at the start of this blog, this really could affect you at anytime. We are all only one accident or stroke etc away from being disabled ourselves. I know that is depressing and upsetting but it is sadly true and I for one do NOT wish to sit in my own poo!
This didn’t affect me and wasn’t even on my radar until 2009 when my son was born with a severe disability, he is now 7 and we struggle when we are out but I am trying really hard to get people to realise this is an issue and make changes. The only thing that will guarantee a change and ensure that anywhere providing a disabled toilet provides one suitable for ALL disabled people is a change in the law requiring the addition of a hoist and a changing bench in disabled toilets.
Until then raising awareness to make sure as many people as possible know about this issue is the only way we can start to persuade businesses and councils to make changes to the facilities they provide, so PLEASE share this post, sign this petition and start talking about this issue to anyone who will listen, including your friends and followers on social media.
The disabled population is the largest minority of which anyone can become part of at any time.
*This blog was originally published in 2016*