Event and venue accessibility for individuals with disabilities

Event and venue accessibility for individuals with disabilities

Summer is a busy time for outdoor events such as festivals, markets, and concerts. These can be a great opportunity for caregivers to get outside and spend a fun day out in the community with the person in your care. However, disability access for events can sometimes be limited.

Unless you’ve been to a particular venue in the past, it can be hard to know the level of venue accessibility before you get there.

Accessibility at events, especially in a park or unpaved venue, can present challenges to caregivers and the people they care for, especially if there are any issues with mobility.

With the introduction of provincial legislation surrounding accessibility requirements for venues and parks across Canada, there has been an increased focus on making accessibility an important consideration.

If you are a caregiver and you’re planning on attending an outdoor event during the summer with the person in your care, there are a number of accommodations you’ll want to consider ahead of time. It’s helpful to know the level of venue accessibility ahead of time so that you’re not surprised or disappointed once you get there.

Venue accessibility checklist

Parking: This is one of the first things to consider when you are assessing the accessibility of the venue. Adequate accessible parking that is close to the entrance, and has an unobstructed path into the venue helps ease the stress of your arrival.

Walkways: As you make your way into and around the venue or event you’ll also want to ensure there are clear, wide walkways, preferably ones that are paved for wheelchair access. This is especially necessary if the person you care for has any mobility issues, such as relying on a wheelchair, walker, or cane to get around. Look out for tripping hazards that could be left on the walkway. Things like wires, curbs, potholes, or even loose trash could be a potential tripping hazard.

Seating and access to attractions: The whole point of taking the person in your care to an outdoor venue is to enjoy the event, whether that is a festival, market, concert, or just a day in the park. In order to enjoy your day out the venue should have accessible seating and provide access to the attractions. This may include designated seating areas, or the placement of ramps throughout the venue in order to allow all guests, including those with disabilities, access to different areas of the venue.

Accessible washrooms: Accessible washrooms should have dedicated accessible toilet stalls that are large enough to accommodate aids such as a wheelchair, or potential caregiver. It should also feature grab bars, and an accessible-height sink. Washrooms should be conveniently located throughout the venue, and easy to find.

Signage (Braille, Sign Language, Audio): Depending on the needs of the person in your care, signage that is large enough to read and possibly offered in various accessible formats can help the person in your care participate in the event. This may be hard to execute completely in an outdoor venue, especially one that is temporary.

Disability access and inclusion

Depending on the type and location of an outdoor event or venue, there can be a wide range of varying disability and access inclusion features available.

There will always be some venues and outdoor events that are more easily accessible than others, but it’s worth looking into ahead of time so that you and the person in your care can get out and enjoy events together.

Unless you’ve been to a particular venue in the past, it can be hard to know the level of venue accessibility before you get there.

In some cases you may be able to find contact information online that will connect you with the event planner. They will be able to answer your questions, and give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of accessibility. In addition, many venues now have a lot of their accessibility features listed on their websites.

As a caregiver, you’re often more aware of the variety of accessibility needs.

Accessibility is more than just providing a wheelchair ramp. The person you’re caring for could have difficulty hearing or seeing, they could have mental health issues, mobility issues, or even diagnosed with an “invisible disability” (a condition that is not always obvious to others but impairs some aspect of their life).

All of these conditions require diligence on the part of the caregiver to ensure a safe environment, and allow both of you to have enjoyable time at an outdoor venue.

Visit our Elizz caregiving services page to learn about the support services we offer for caregivers as well as for the people in your care.

For more information on disability access and inclusion see our Elizz article entitled International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

You might also like our Elizz article on Travelling with Mobility Issues.

 

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