The Number One Beach Accessory You Might Not Know About
The beach for me as someone with spinal muscular atrophy can be a difficult place. I often feel most disabled in this environment.
The sand makes travel by wheelchair almost impossible if not impossible. I need at least two grown men to get me down the beach and somewhere comfortable to sit once I do get down there. This isn’t always in the equation.
Using a power beach wheelchair
This year at the beach I got to know the joy of getting down to the water alone. If you did not know there is such a thing as a power beach wheelchair.
It exists and better yet you can rent them! They are becoming more common in beach towns and often the companies renting them will bring them to your beach rental and pick them up when your vacation is over.
I floated above the sand in a way with the giant balloon tires on this chair. A complimentary umbrella came with that could attach to the chair to keep sunburns away. All this from my personal perch.
A new sense of freedom at the beach
I was free with an entire beach to be explored. There were seashells to find and a toddler to follow.
This power beach wheelchair, I lovingly referred to as Bumblebee. It had a bright yellow color, took me to family photos on the beach, bonfires, sunsets, and to the water every day to see my child play in the waves.
It allowed me to adjust my position, go see the sandcastle, and look at where the sea turtle nests were. If you get the opportunity to go to the beach, research this option. It will change your entire beach experience.
This chair allowed me to have some autonomy while on vacation. When I travel I typically only bring my manual wheelchair.
I am unable to even move about a room on my own. The transfers are more difficult in an unfamiliar environment.
Not needing to rely on others for help
Dressing, undressing, and showering often occurs more frequently when at the beach. This can all take a toll on everyone involved. It felt good to have the ability to go wherever I pleased while out on the beach, alone.
It felt so good that I am going to try and fly with my power chair and rent an accessible vehicle on my next trip. Rentals, condos, and hotels are getting slightly more accessible.
This year, the house we rented had a small elevator that my manual chair just fit in. It was difficult to find but possible! These few luxuries allowed me to enjoy my vacation so much more.
Travel requires good planning
Planning is necessary, no detail can be overlooked, and Google is your best friend when wanting to explore a new place. It can be done. It is worth doing.
Even after traveling many years alone, with others, to different places, and to some of the same ones over and over again, I am still surprised by what new accommodations I can find to make my disabled self more comfortable.
Which emotional aspect of SMA do you find most difficult?