Life here at the lake is precious to me. I’ve always considered it to living in paradise. Now I reached a point my life where I understand that living in paradise is not for everyone.

Recently in the news there was an article about two individuals who got into heated disagreement because one that had a handicap license was parked in the regular parking spot; I would like to address that.

Most of us don’t need anything special to be able to park our cars because we’re healthy and then there some of us who desperately need help in order to survive.

Many of us look for the spot closest to the entrance.

I ask everyone to look at things because someday you or maybe your parents may need a handicap accessibility.

Sometimes specified parking spaces are located on the side or back of the building away from the front door; they only need to be where instead of a curb there is a ramp to gain access to the sidewalk but it may be a distance from the door and doesn’t accomplish much.

Many people with handicap licenses may be parked right by the front door which is where the space should be.

Life here at the lake is precious to me. I’ve always considered it to living in paradise. Now I reached a point my life where I understand that living in paradise is not for everyone.

Our legislators, policymakers, those individuals who are building inspectors, planning and zoning plus all the do-gooders in the world have created the American Disability Act (ADA).

I think it’s intent is to provide disability awareness and accessibility, especially to most businesses and facilities.

However, much like the stir-ups in the gynecologist office; whoever designed them seldom uses them.

Most businesses, because handicap parking and access is required may have it available but not necessarily conveniently.

In most cases, not always usable for a person who is in a wheelchair or who cannot walk and arrives alone.

I think the theory is if you are in that bad of shape stay home! That’s a good idea till it hits you. It applies to people of all ages so you can’t just think this effects people in their 80s and 90s.

Many have heard the term scared to death but at 73 years old, I’m scared to live.

I spent over 50 years of my life serving others being a volunteer in schools, churches and with philanthropic organizations; giving to others; I loved it, I loved every minute of it.  You couldn’t pay me to do a better job and I got many awards for my service. I spent 40-60 hours a week on the go. Now walking more then two minutes takes my breathe away and exhausts me.

For whatever reason my health went to hell in a fruit basket and now I’m on a slew of medications and many of those have affected my health even worse.

Medications have affected my bone structure, caused muscle weakness, affected joints. It’s true when they say sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

I would like to reach our politicians and people in control of creating the requirements like those in planning and designing where to place handicapped parking and access of getting in/out of the building or the bathroom.

They may not even realize its importance since they don’t use it.

To meet the “requirements” they have added the bare minimum number of parking spaces not necessarily in the front of the building, where if someone needs help people can easily see them, some are they around the back where no one will know if they need any assistance.

I ask those of you with businesses to have your doors conveniently located not for the person who is healthy enough to walk the distance. Are your doors easily opened by someone using a walker or wheelchair or does it take two people - one to hold the door open and another one to push you through.

If you have added handicap accessible features to your home or business did you do it begrudgingly to barely meet limit of the law or have you done it from the standpoint that you are more welcoming to your customers or you might have to use them some day yourself.

I want to take this time to thank Walmart in our area. Not only have they conveniently provided motorized scooters for use in their store, their employees are aware and willing to help someone they may see use one. They offer to help you get it in or out of it and get it back into the store once you’ve taken the purchase to the car.

Examine the ramp access - is it in front “by the door” or around the back or side requiring a hike.  Do you have to be a Olympian uphill climber to push someone up because that ramp is so steep. Is it with a straight path to the entrance over a smooth threshold or does it require turns and opening a series of more then one door.

The hardest part of going out with a limited health ability especially if you require a wheelchair or walker is try to get in and out of the bathroom  - the doors are so heavy and narrow you have to lean over the walker to open it.

How do you move a walker and the door at the same time. Worse yet, if you are in a wheelchair and need to use the ladies room, however, you have a man with you how do you access the restroom and make it to the handicap toilets -in case you never noticed are at the far end of the room, so you can go past several regular stalls to get to the handicap one.

Ask yourself will I make to the handicap accessible stall in time once I maneuver through the obstacle course of the lines formed in front of the other stalls.

Once you get to the handicap stall, it is sometimes occupied by someone with a child - they also put the diaper changing table in that stall, that way they kill two requirements with one stall; the handicap stall is used by everybody you don’t need a license or placard!

It’s obvious here at the lake that most businesses cater to young healthy people, people who are going to drink a lot, party a lot.

There’s a lot of us that live here full-time, who still enjoy going out to eat and support our businesses. We pay taxes to contribute to the businesses, services and schools.

I would just like a little bit of consideration, tolerance and empathy.

Old age is a fact of life if you’re lucky, everyone is hoping to live many years, I’m just trying to help you think about it so you when you get to this point things might be a little bit better for you.

Believe me I thought I was invincible and would be able to take care of myself independently - God had another plan. Since He is the master weaver I continue to trust Him and make the best of it.