AdvanceAbilities is changing the social and physical landscape for disabled seniors in America by listening to their stories, their challenges and their dreams. These interviews are the substance from which we will, in our series of documentaries, tell the formerly hidden story of disability in America. Through our other projects, mentioned below, we will give all disabled people and all seniors tools that will enable them to experience and enjoy our world in ways they never imagined and the rest of us take for granted.
Our hope is that as our project grows to include a wide range of individual challenges, everyone will join us as we build the first nationwide guide to accessible America. Over the last 3+ years, I have interviewed more than 300 rollator users across the nation. Aside from the common complaints about various parts of the device, what struck me was how many people wish they had a Yelp-like guide to restaurants, hotels and other locations, because they are frequently invited to join their friends for dinner, etc., and realize, after arriving, that they simply cannot handle the tight places that many restaurants tend to be. Yelp has declared that they will not be addressing ‘accessibility’ in their guide, which in my opinion is incredibly shortsighted. Not to worry, we will.
Over the last 7 years, I have lived in a building purpose built with both the funding and mission to house and provide social support services for Disabled Seniors and helping us create a mutually supportive community. Sadly, I have watched the senseless decline of many neighbors merely because they have not received the support promised us all when we moved in. Adding in a lack of family support and unfamiliarity with American customs serves to make the situation even more dire for some. Now that I am well enough to give solving this problem my all, I simply cannot just sit by and watch anymore. I have frequently dreamed of starting a non-profit venture that truly makes a difference, and AdvanceAbilities, Inc is it. After 4 years of learning, and experimenting, I realized that there are many things I had never considered when I started. Now, however, it seems impossible not to get rolling. I feel confident about our documentaries’ ability to inspire others to act with me. I have met many inspiring people along my way, and am certain to meet many others. I am more certain than ever before that we will make a difference – a big difference. I hope if you are reading this that you come and join our efforts.