Making your business more profitable by making it accessible for both employees and customers!
- According to Statistics Canada, approximately 4.4 million people in Canada have disabilities; representing 14.3% of Canada’s population. (Currently up to almost 20% or 1 in 5 people)
- What’s the third largest market segment in the US? The answer might surprise you. It’s not a particular ethnicity, gender or age group. It’s people with disabilities. The size of this group —54 million strong (15.1%) —surpasses Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans, as well as Gen. X and teens. Add in their families and friends and you get a trillion dollars in purchasing power.
- Better accessibility isn’t just good for people with disabilities; it’s also good for business. According to an RBC Financial Group study, people with disabilities account for an estimated $25 billion a year in consumer spending in this country, and influence the spending decisions of twelve to fifteen million other Canadians.
How you can make your business Accessible
- Review and implement Customer Service Standards immediately so that persons with disabilities feel welcome in your place of business
- Install an accessible customer service desk (or portion of it) with a 30” high counter, open underneath
- Have staff come around a high desk
- Have a clipboard at desk to hand to clients
- Have a chair for people to sit while completing their transaction
- Have proper levels of lighting throughout business if possible
- Keep background noise to a minimum
- Improve your signage (use icons) and way finding signs (high contrast)
- Make at least one washroom accessible
- Remove clutter – keep aisles min. 36” wide
- Remove A-frames and sales merchandise from sidewalks or keep to one side
- Do not have low hanging objects
- Improve flooring surface with low pile carpet and secure to floor
- Add vision strips to glass doors
- Make websites friendly to persons with disabilities
- Provide delivery services free or at a nominal fee for persons with disabilities
- Provide large print menu’s / audio menu’s (MP3)
- Designate parking spaces for person’s with disabilities close to the front entrance and NOT across a path of vehicle traffic
- Provide a canopy or covered area at front entrance to keep it clear of snow, ice and rain
- Install larger paddle handles on doors and ensure doors are easy to swing open
- Install exterior grab bars or railings at steps
- Install power door operators – or train staff to watch the doors and open it for persons with disabilities respectfully
- Install a ramp, stair lift or vertical platform lift or elevator
For many people, a little extra assistance with walking longer distances can be very beneficial. If a cane is no longer providing the proper support then most therapists or doctors will recommend a rollator or walker. In the past few years there have been numerous changes in the designs of walkers making them lighter and much easier to fold. The new rollators even come in a multitude of colours making them fun as well as functional! When choosing a rollator or walker there are a number of important considerations:
Will you be using it outdoors as well as indoors?
If using it outdoors you should consider looking at a rollator with larger wheels on it as they will be more stable outside. Wider wheels also track better over rougher surfaces.
Will you be lifting onto a bus, up stairs, or into a vehicle?
Lighter weight walkers are better if you are lifting the walker. You also want to look at whether you have to remove the basket before it can be folded and if so how easy is it to remove.
Do you have limited space for storing it?
If you have a small home you should look at walkers that fold up smaller and can stand on their own when folded so they can easily be stored in a closet or hallway.
Do you need financial assistance to cover 75% to 100% of the cost of purchasing the walker or rollator?
We can work with you to determine what funding you would be eligible for and walk you through the application process. We are authorized vendors for the various provincial funding programs, Veteran’s Affairs Canada and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. We also work directly with insurance companies.
A properly fitted walker/rollator should greatly reduce the risk of a person from falling and injuring themselves as they provide support when someone is feeling off balance. On the other hand, a poorly fitted walker can actually cause more strain on knee joints (wrong seat height) and the back (wrong handle height). Rollators also have seats built into them to provide a convenient and comfortable resting spot as needed.
At Living Well HME we work with people to make sure they get the proper rollator or walker for them.