Senior Matters: More care is required
IS IT just my view of the world or has society become less caring and less considerate of others in our community?
I, like many other people, take my elderly mother out to appointments, shopping and so on and get very frustrated trying to find a disability car park that hasn't got a vehicle parked in it with a no disability sticker on display. It is not that I need this car space myself but my mum does.
Yes, she has a disabled sticker which the family uses when we have her in the vehicle.
She is legally blind, has a bad heart, uses a wheelie walker to get around and at 92 is very frail.
This means she is unable to walk any distance yet every time we take her for medical appointments, the shops and other places there is never a vacant disabled space to park.
And nine times out of 10 you can bet the spaces are taken by abled bodied people who for some reason seem to have no consideration for others and park where they like.
It makes life more difficult for mum than it should. And I am sure there are many more people in our community that this issue affects.
The issue surrounding disability parking, or lack thereof, is gaining momentum as more and more motorists demonstrate a total disregard for the law and the rules governing disability parking permits.
It was the highlight of a recent meeting of the Ipswich Support Group of Parkinson's Queensland whose guest speaker was Elisha 'Friday' Wright, founder of the "No Permit NO Park" campaign.
Elisha is campaigning for the rights of all persons with disability to have access to parking bays designed for disability parking.
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition that affects approximately 80,000 Australians, including over 17,000 Queenslanders.
It is categorised as a "movement disorder" however it doesn't just affect movement.
The average age of diagnosis is 65 years however 20% of those diagnosed are of "working age".
And people with Parkinson's experience firsthand the challenges of accessing parking areas close to buildings and public amenities.
"Disability parking is not a convenience," Elisha said.
"It is a necessity. For many it means they can maintain independent participation in their community and for others it makes it possible for their carers to keep them included in the community.
"No one should be excluded from their community because of their level of ability."
Paulette Montaigne, co-ordinator of the Ipswich Parkinson's Support Group, added that "breaking the social isolation of people with Parkinson's or other mobility issues was vital to their overall well-being".
"If on top of that we have to add the stress/challenge of fighting for a parking space, then our society is failing abysmally in keeping our members active and independent.
"The role of our support group is exactly about creating inclusive communities through awareness and education not only for the person with a disability but also for their family and carers" Paulette said.
The Ipswich Parkinson's Support Group meets every month on the second Tuesday in Brassall.