Breaking Down Barriers: Strategies for Overcoming Ableism in Our Society

ableism in our society
Ableism in our society is more pronounced than many people think, and these tips can help overcome it.

What’s your first thought when you see a person in a wheelchair? Do you view that person as less-than, someone in need of being fixed? Do you assume they need special treatment, as though a physical disability impacts intelligence as well? How does your thinking change to see someone standing upright, without the need for a wheelchair; would you think they were better-abled than the wheelchair-bound older adult?
These are tough questions that call for honest answers if we are to understand and respond accordingly to hidden disabilities and ableism in society.

What Is Ableism?

Ableism is referred to as “the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior.” Ableism in our society results in harmful stereotypes and misconceptions.

The Two Sides to the Disability Coin

Individuals with visible disabilities encounter ableism in many ways: exclusion from places that are inaccessible, being spoken down to or asked intrusive questions, having to wait to use an accessible restroom stall while in use by somebody who could be using a standard stall, etc. On the other hand, there are lots of disabilities that are not as easily visible (for example, hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or a heart condition), accounting for as many as 80% of the disabled population. These people may have their concerns minimized and need to fight harder to receive any accommodations needed.

Regardless of whether a disability is hidden or apparent, there are steps we should all take to promote equality and inclusion:

  • Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. Say hello. Look them in the eye. Engage them in a conversation if they welcome the social interaction.
  • Avoid trying to think for the individual or impose your help. Offer assistance in an open-ended manner if it seems needed, giving them the choice to let you know if they would like your help or not.
  • Never speak over or around the individual, addressing a caregiver first. Speak directly to the older adult, and if help with conversing is necessary, the caregiver can then step in. Bear in mind that the person is an adult and should always be spoken to as such.

At Golden Harmony, we are dedicated to fighting ableism in our society and treating each person we serve with respect and dignity. We can help someone you love with a complete range of customized in-home care services, which can include:

  • Transportation and accompaniment
  • Discreet personal care support for safe baths/showers, restroom use, getting dressed, etc.
  • Running errands, such as grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions
  • Assistance with walking and transfers
  • Planning and preparing healthy and balanced meals and providing assistance with eating when needed
  • Specialized care for chronic health needs, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Companionship to brighten each day through conversations, activities, games, arts and crafts, and exercise
  • And so much more

Reach out to Golden Harmony at 919-426-7522 to learn more about our in-home care in Wake Forest, NC and the nearby areas and to request a free consultation. Visit our Communities Served page for a full list of cities within our service area.