What does “fully accessible” actually mean?

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I have asked myself this question a lot lately and I expect it depends on your point of view! I have just come back from a fabulous holiday in Norfolk with my family and booked an accessible cottage through one of the numerous websites available. We go every year with my sister and her family and have come across obstacles numerous times to do with my lack of reliable mobility! One cottage in Bath had 4 toilets, all of which were upstairs, for example, and another bungalow had steps with no hand rail going up to the door. This makes the holiday stressful for all of us so this year I made sure I’d be able to access the accommodation and have a nice time!

The house I chose had a downstairs bedroom and accessible wet room which was perfect but there was an 8 inch step from the front door into the hall way! This meant my husband and brother in law had to lift me in and out of the house! Amusing at best, humiliating at worst!

When I checked the website on my return I found an “accessibility statement” hidden beneath the information stating that a ramp was available on request! That’ll teach me not to check all the information before I leave but the statement “fully accessible” led me to believe I wouldn’t have any problems. There were also steps down to the garden with no hand rail which made it difficult to sit outside. Luckily the great British summer time delivered rain and high winds most of the time so it wasn’t a problem! The drive way leading from the car to the ramp outside was covered in bone shaking gravel too so I hate to think what damage was done to my scooter by numerous slippery wheel spins!

We booked a posh, Michelin Star restaurant for when we were there too and I spoke to them on the phone when I booked and asked if the restaurant was accessible. I was assured it was “fully accessible” and was reassured when I arrived as there were no stairs and I was able to trundle in happily. Apart from strategically placed furniture waiting to tangle up my wheels and heavy fire doors to negotiate it was all good till I went to the loo. There were no disabled toilets so I had to park my scooter in the door way and hobble in, clinging on to the wall as I went. This is fine all the while I’m not hot and bothered and I haven’t drunk any wine! Luckily the budget dictated the amount of wine I drank but to me “fully accessible” means I don’t have to stress out at the dinner table, worrying about how to get in and out of the loo!

To me, the term “fully accessible” means freedom to trundle about on my own without having to rely on anybody else to help!

What do other MSers think? What does “fully accessible” mean to you? Have you had any nasty surprises when you’ve arrived?

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