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Old 09-17-2004, 04:36 PM   #1
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Travelling with disabled person

Wondering if anyone has any info/advice on camping with an adult disabled person. Thinking of inviting a cousin who has Parkinson's and uses a walker and a wheelchair. Also thinking of inviting elderly seniors who are not disabled but may have some limitations.
What do we need to plan for/allow for in living accommodations? Are there campgrounds set up to allow mobility for wheelchair users?
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Old 09-17-2004, 05:02 PM   #2
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Most, if not all the state parks in Illinois, and I would venture to guess elsewhere, have at least a few sites that are designated for handicaped. These sites tend to be larger than a standard site, and also have a concrete or asphalt camp pad, making mobility a little easier for wheelchair bound campers. These sites are ussually located closer to the bath/shower houses as well. Because of their size, they look easier to get in and out of as well.

If you have either a Woodall's or Trailer Life campground directory, sometimes they have the phone number of the place you want to go, and you can call them direct to find out their accessability.

The main hurdle to consider is getting in or out of your camper, and I am sure that some of the other folks on this forum could address that as well.

Either way, it is a great idea to have your cousin et al. They should have a real nice time.

Jonathan
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Old 09-17-2004, 05:43 PM   #3
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Missouri state parks also have disabled sites. One nice thing is that most of these sites are reservable and the state has put almost all of these sites on the Internet with pictures of each site.

For example here are some sites at Lake of the Ozarks state park. Click on the sites in red and you will get a pop up that gives you a physical description of the site and a link to a picture. Its pretty neat.

http://www.mostateparks.com/lakeozark/camp1.htm#


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Old 09-17-2004, 06:50 PM   #4
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Travelling with disabled person

Greetings Gardener!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gardener
Wondering if anyone has any info/advice on camping with an adult disabled person. Thinking of inviting a cousin who has Parkinson's and uses a walker and a wheelchair. Also thinking of inviting elderly seniors who are not disabled but may have some limitations.
What do we need to plan for/allow for in living accommodations? Are there campgrounds set up to allow mobility for wheelchair users?
My mother often traveled with me through her mid-80s, and toward the end of that time she used a walker or canes for mobility assistance. The same assistive devices that she used at home for bathing, etc. were adaptable to the Airstream (this was before I acquired the Minuet). The fixed twin beds in the Overlander were a definite asset as her arthritis prevented her from finiding comfortable sleeping on the pull-out lounge. The biggest thing that we had to remember were the large step-stool for access to the Overlander's first step as well as the "special-access" step ladder for climbing into the K2500 Suburban. This "special-access" step ladder was made of aluminum and had two closely spaced very wide steps with a top platform step and "halo-wrap-handle" that acted as a grab rail - - it was an invaluable asset to anyone with mobility issues when accessing my tall Suburban - - the "special-access" step ladder was a special order item from the same place where my mother purchased her other medical devices (it wasn't cheap, but was worth every penny for the added security, and it folded small enough that it stored against the interior of the Suburban's tailgate). Unfortunately, my mother passed away before I learned my lesson about short travel days - - and the 500 mile days that were typical for me at that time were almost too much for her (the electric seat heaters in the Suburban helped increase her travel comfort as it eased her arthritis).

Good luck with your preparations!

Kevin
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Old 09-17-2004, 09:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gardener
Wondering if anyone has any info/advice on camping with an adult disabled person. Thinking of inviting a cousin who has Parkinson's and uses a walker and a wheelchair. Also thinking of inviting elderly seniors who are not disabled but may have some limitations.
What do we need to plan for/allow for in living accommodations? Are there campgrounds set up to allow mobility for wheelchair users?
Most NC State Parks have handicap specific sites. Also you are on the right track looking for an Airstream IMHO I believe they are more handicap friendly than a lot of other units. Ours has the double step, which puts the lowest step about 6" off the ground under normal conditions. It also has the open front end living area that makes it easy to move about. Also the large rear bath with the tub The wheelchair might have to be collapsed to get inside tho

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Old 09-18-2004, 11:54 AM   #6
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Gardener,

We have a 1968 Overlander W/ center twins, and that layout works really good for me. The rear bathroom is larger (make sure that the tub is big enough for a bathchair), and I have easy access to the bathroom, and I can get in & out of bed without disturbing my husband (the twins are fairly "high", so I can manage without assist).

There's no way you could maneuver a wheelchair (I'm not for sure about a walker, but it would be tight), I leave my walker at the door, things are close enough, that I can grab hold.

Most State Parks have at least one, Handicapp Access site. We stay a lot at Ridgeway State Park, and since they're all have concrete pads, we took a picnic lunch (it's fairly close), picked up a site map, and drove through and marked the ones that I could access.

Kevin's right about the stool. Make sure it can accomodate a wide stance.
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Old 09-18-2004, 01:34 PM   #7
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Disabled access

Glad to have your thoughts. We had been planning to get a rear bedroom to allow for more privacy when we have guests camping with us. (Also, my husband requires extra rest during the day and I didn't want to be scooting through his sleeping area to get to the bathroom.) I think the cousin is still able to get around by holding onto things, so I wasn't too worried about getting the walker (or wheelchair) down the hall.
Do you think the center bath could work? Some have commode and sink on one side, shower on the other.
I've done a little checking on camping sites based on recommendations, so I see there are some available. Thanks for that info. Keep me posted on any other ideas you see in practice. Appreciate it . . .
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Old 09-18-2004, 06:54 PM   #8
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The center baths I've seen are too small, for manuevering, when you think about the "mechanics" of using the toilet,sink, or tub. Now, I've only looked at vintage era Airstreams. The newer ones might have more room.
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Old 09-20-2004, 10:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrapIrony-2
The center baths I've seen are too small, for manuevering, when you think about the "mechanics" of using the toilet,sink, or tub. Now, I've only looked at vintage era Airstreams. The newer ones might have more room.
Part of the issue is "grab" space and quite honestly a side bath unit with its smaller confines might give you more things to lean on since everything is clustered in the area.

The center bath units like my Classic give you more total room since the shower is on the opposite side of the toilet and sink. A walker can fit into this space fairly easily. The glass shower door opens out in the Classic which could require the walker to be in a different area. The Safari baths use a roll up door which could allow a walker but then again I'm not sure if there is a center bath option in the Safari's.

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Old 09-20-2004, 08:42 PM   #10
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Think we'll check more specifically how bathing/toileting takes place at this point. Hope we can get our act together before the disease makes it unfeasible. Will let you know if we do, and HOW we do.
Thanks again.
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Old 09-21-2004, 01:02 AM   #11
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Jack,

It sounds like newer ones are a little larger. The ones I looked at (60's & early 70's) were really small ("knee bumping" small).
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Old 09-21-2004, 08:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrapIrony-2
Jack,

It sounds like newer ones are a little larger. The ones I looked at (60's & early 70's) were really small ("knee bumping" small).

Like Jack, I think the center baths and rear bedrooms of newer units would be handicap accessible. I don't know if a walker would leave moveable space at the end of the galley at the bath door. I wonder if the counter tops and dinette of the galley gives enough ready support to move through this area without the walker? In our '95 Classic, once you got to the bath door from the galley, I believe that you could maneuver to sit at the toilet which is just inside the door to the right and is set at a slight angle into the open area of the bath space. From there, I think you could sit, use the sink and do hand bathing or grooming tasks. With the sink counter top immediate to your right arm, if you have adequate upper body strength, you could push to an upright stance again. The open space is large enough to move in, and has two doorways for support when you are working your way around the space. I believe that you could position yourself in the doorway opening into the rear bedroom and move back enough to "fall-sit" onto the queen bed mattress safely. The shower that is to the left of the bath doorway from the galley, has a glass door that opens back toward the rear bedroom. I think you should have some kind of stool in the shower on which you would need to sit down from outside the shower before getting into the shower. You need to be able to get over the metal rim door frame (about 4-5 inches high from the floor) and this would be a challenge if you were upright and having to step up and over to get into the shower. My hat is off to everyone who has to problem solve such everyday movements to maintain activity and independence. You use upper body strength and endurance that most of us don't even consider. Best wishes!
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