Get familiar with your rights
Educating yourself on the American with Disabilities Act and your elder rights is the first step in navigating a disability. The ADA is a fundamental law established in 1990 that prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. It applies to five areas of public life: employment, government services, public amenities, telecommunications, and transportation.
There are several agencies with ADA responsibilities that serve as a great resource for you or a loved one. For example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission focuses on disability discrimination with an employer or other entity. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that by law, an employer must provide accommodations for employees with disabilities. The law even protects a person who has a relationship with someone with a disability, even if he/she does not have a disability themselves. To learn more about disability discrimination, visit https://www.eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination.
Transportation is another ADA guideline that features accommodations. The Federal Transit Administration and its Office of Civil Rights work to ensure nondiscriminatory transportation and provision of public transit services. They identify accessibility guidelines for train stations, bus stations, and other public facilities to safeguard usability for all people.
ADA standards are designed to protect your rights and offer equitable accommodations. Be sure to take the time to be informed on these policies that can help improve your everyday life.
Connect with advocacy programs
Connecting with both local and federal advocacy programs is another means to find helpful resources for caretakers and those with disability. The scope of these programs can range from a national association promoting general disability advocacy to a small group dedicated to a specific cause. For example, the Administration for Community Living maintains a network of Aging and Disability Resource Centers across the country. Their mission is to help with the many day-to-day frustrations older adults, people with disabilities, and caretakers experience when trying access care options and other resources. They offer support to people looking to make educated decisions about their long-term living plan, featuring localized service through an Eldercare Locator.
A more specialized organization includes the Alzheimer’s Disease Programs Initiative. This program seeks to expand the “availability of dementia-capable home and community-based services” for individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease. The group offers engaging resources, including support groups and a call center that’s available 24/7 to provide advice, referrals, and care consultation. For more information visit https://www.alz.org/help-support/resources/helpline.
There are countless services and advocacy programs to help you or a loved one cope with or plan for disability accommodations. Whether you’re living with a disability or serving as a caretaker, take the first step to find the support you need today.