One-fifth of all Americans have a disability, a proportion expected to increase in coming decades. Although people with disabilities exist throughout the U.S. population, one group is particularly impacted: aging adults. Elderly Americans often face higher activity limitations. For example, over 9 million older Americans have ambulatory limitations and report being limited in their activity.
Similarly, those aged 65 and older report higher rates of disability (53.9%) than people between 18 and 45 (13.6%). In fact, sixteen percent of aging adults state that they needed some type of regular assistance as a result of their disability. Not surprisingly, there is strong relationship between disability status and reported health. Among those 65 or older with an ambulatory disability, 64% reported their health as fair or poor, whereas among those who reported no disability, only 10% reported their health as fair or poor status.
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities to participate in public events as persons without disabilities. The ADA requires public facilities to comply with strict guidelines to ensure that public services are accessible for people with disabilities. This research investigates a public venue’s Mobility Assist (MA) program and its policies and procedures to determine whether it meets ADA requirements and accommodates the ambulatory needs of aging and older adults. Accessibility was determined by compliance with selected provisions of the ADA and Chapter Four, Accessible Routes, and Chapter Eight, Wheelchair Spaces, of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).
|Keywords:||Americans with Disabilities Act, Quality of Life and Wellness, Ambulatory Disability|
Associate Professor, College of Health and Human Services, Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fresno, CA, USA