Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Sandman Inn Improves Accessibility for Guests with Disabilities

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by at 3:14 pm on Saturday, October 11, 2008

Accessibility 100A quick update on the accessibility of Castlegar’s Sandman Inn…resulting from a mis-forwarded email (ooops!) regarding my previous post sent to the hotel manager, the following room improvements were in process, as of Friday:

  • New bars (3 in total) have been put into the washroom. Done Oct 7th
  • New moveable shower head is being put in today!
  • Covering for pipes under sink is being put in today!
  • Purchased a tub transfer bench

And, from my understanding, the Sandman is also interested in having SPARC BC (Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia) conduct an accessibility audit.

I would like to add that I did not request permission to post this update. However, I do feel the Sandman Inn deserves acknowledgement for acting promptly in improving the room’s accessibility once they became aware of the issue. If only other establishments would respond as promptly! 

I would welcome the opportunity to interview the hotel manager so that he can share any lessons learned from the process, and I’d gladly post updated room photos to show what improvements have been made.

For change to occur, there needs to be a will for change. The Sandman Inn’s willingness is encouraging.


Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This is a community project. Feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas for future Accessibility 100 posts.

Get the entire series by subscribing to this blog by filling in the form in the upper right corner or by subscribing to the RSS feed.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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What Makes a Hotel Room Accessible?

Filed under: Accessibility 100,Living with a disability — by at 11:47 am on Thursday, October 9, 2008

Accessibility 100 This past weekend I traveled, in my capacity as Board Director and Treasurer, with SPARC BC (Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia) to Castlegar, a small town located in southeastern BC. Following the lessons learned from our trip to Victoria a couple of years ago, where I could barely get into the bathroom of my accessible hotel room, the SPARC staff went trough an extensive accessibility checklist when booking the hotel for our group. SPARC was assured by hotel staff that the Sandman Inn was accessible and that the accessible room had the necessary features. Even when checking in on Friday evening, the front desk staff told us there was a grab bar by the toilet.

Because there were a few stairs up to room wing and the elevator, I had to outside and around to another door to get to my room. That wasn’t too bad in the rain, but would have been a real pain with a foot or more of snow! SPARC staff Alla and Emese went with me just in case…

Toilet with no grab bar

Entering the room…Surprise! No grab bars, no where!

Alla and Emese went back to talk with the front desk lady, who was less than helpful. Then called the hotel manager at home and woke him up. After a brief discussion, he promised to have bars installed the next morning. Meanwhile, I was thankful Mom had taught me to "hang onto the air" when necessary. I managed to do what I had to. 

A shower with an unreachable shower head

Looking around the accessible room, I noticed more glaring accessibility issues. The shower head was hung at a standing level. There was no way I could have reached it. The taps were knobs, rather than levers, making it difficult, if not impossible, for those with minimal manual dexterity to turn on the water.

A bathtub with no grab bar

A shower bench was provided. Actually, initially, the bench was beside the toilet. According to the front desk lady, I was suppose to use that to help me get onto the toilet. Huh? I guess I’m not disabled enough to figure out how to do that. Alla placed the shower bench in the tub (go figure!), mainly to get it out of the way. With no grab bar in the shower and after my adventure in Vegas, I didn’t chance having a shower. (Shh, don’t tell anyone!)

A roll-under sink with exposed pipes

The sink had plenty of clear space underneath for an individual in a wheelchair to roll under. The tap had a great lever handle. However, an individual with limited or no sensation in his/her legs can easily be burned by the pipes when running hot water. That is why exposed pipes must be wrapped in insulation.

The door with a lever handle and a lower peep hole,  but a high door lock

Unlike the bathroom door that had a door knob, the room door had a nice lever handles – levers are much easier to open by individuals with limited hand function. There was even a second peep hole at seated level. (Personally, the lower peep hole has always baffled me. Looking through it, am I suppose to recognize people by their crotch?Anyway, a nice touch.)

But, do you see where the safety lock is? Yes, near the top of the door! I had to stand up to lock the door.

A toilet with a grab bar mounted on the wall

After some assertive advocating by SPARC staff, on my behalf, Room #124 at the Sandman Inn now has one grab bar! Which is a good thing, considering that was the only accessible washroom available during our day long board meeting, but that’s another story.

Thanks SPARC BC!


Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This is a community project. Feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas for future Accessibility 100 posts.

Get the entire series by subscribing to this blog by filling in the form in the upper right corner or by subscribing to the RSS feed.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What about the Boobs on Wheels?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 6:21 pm on Thursday, October 2, 2008

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and with the age of 42 being around the corner (November 4th to be exact), screening mammograms are on my mind. I appreciate the importance of having early mammograms, but having one done terrifies me! Unlike many women with physical disabilities, I am able to stand for a few moments. However, I do falter at times. I can only imagine the excruciating pain if I should lose my balance while my breast is held firmly in the vice-grip.

No doubt there are mammogram machines accessible to women in wheelchairs, but I have yet to see a picture of one. And, how many local screening clinics have such machines? How accessible is breast care (and, sexual health care, for that matter) to women with disabilities?

Come to think about it, I don’t recall seeing a Breast Cancer Awareness campaign photo including women with obvious disabilities. Surely these campaigns are totally inclusive. Yes?

Tomorrow morning I am heading out of town for a weekend Board meeting, but I’d love to explore this issue further upon my return. So, if you have had experience, personal or professional, on this issue, or if you know of a relevant resource, feel free to leave a comment below. Depending upon your interest, this might be a great topic with which to reopen Readers’ Cafe. Yes?  

Have a great weekend!

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Inspiring Others

Filed under: Motivation — by at 9:51 am on Thursday, October 2, 2008

Inspire:

  • to influence, move, or guide; 
  • to breathe or blow into or upon;
  • to be in spirit.

During my lifetime, the statement "You’re such an inspiration" has been uttered in my direction too many times to count. Feeling the weight and responsibility of such an honour, I have never known how to respond and often brushed it off with "I’m just me" or "No big deal" because I didn’t want others minimizing their struggles against mine; or, what are assumed to be my struggles.

Recently, and with the wisdom of a good friend, I have come to realize that "You’re an inspiration" isn’t about me, but rather about the giver. By dismissing their compliments, I am discounting something they valued; something they may have needed in that moment to them going, to keep them breathing.

My wise friend has helped me to see that when someone says, "You’re inspiring," he is saying, "You’ve motivated me not feel sorry for myself."

To all of you, I would like to say, "Thank you. I hear you and I appreciate your kind words."

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