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Thread: SCI - Do people treat you different as you age!!

  1. #1

    SCI - Do people treat you different as you age!!

    This is my first post, I am a T-10 incomplete para, injured in 1993 as a deisel mechanic. I have noticed lately that people seem to be more accomodating as i age I am now 45. They open doors for me, ask me if I need help with my groceries. Like this morning I was going into a convenience store for my morning coffee before work. This person was going in the door, and then saw me , she stopped and waited for me to get to the door and hold it open for me, and i was exiting someone else did the same thing. I of course said thanks, it's kind of bothering me. I am in shape 5'9" 160 lbs, I have played wheelchair sports, I don't feel any different , my hair is not gray. Has anyone else experienced this?

  2. #2
    It may not be an age issue as much as a culture change. Our society has learned more about disability and more people with disabilities are integrated into the community now than ever before. I have seen huge changes in this in the 35 years I have been working in rehabilitation, esp. since the ADA went into effect in the early 1990s.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Honestly, if your world involves people treating you respectfully and offering unsolicited assistance, you're in a pretty good place. That's a positive commentary on them, not a negative projection of how you're being perceived. People are so bombarded with negativity emanating from our country's increasingly nasty political divides that I think many welcome an opportunity to go out into the world and not to have to exercise their cynicism, choosing instead to be gracious.

    I would not tempt the assumption that suddenly people are seeing you as a crumpled old man in a wheelchair and patronizing you. People who choose to be courteous and well-mannered are to be appreciated. They may know that they're taking a risk in making a potential faux pas but they're acting on their better impulses. Hell, I hold doors open for people all the time. And being considerate of others and anticipating their needs goes well beyond acts of physical chivalry.

    So, not to be dismissive of your question, as I'm fond of saying here: next issue.

  4. #4
    Thanks for your perspectives on my situation. I am always appreciative for their kind gestures. I do think the world has changed towards the disability culture. Mr. Stephen, I really took a lot from your words. The other day, was probably the best request for an Ab's permissiont to help me. I had all my groceries in my lap and i was getting ice from the cooler on my way out. I was strugglling almost dropping my groceries, while i was getting the ice out. A very nice lady approached me and said i know your perfectly capable of doing this , but can i help. I was like wow that was awesome, but my stupid pride of my independence. I said I appreciate it but I got it. She said everything perfect , and me like an idiot didn't give her the opportunity to do a nice thing for me. As she walked away i felt so small, and told myself never again would I do that again to a person. Thanks for sharing, I feel a lot better about everything. Nick

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    It may not be an age issue as much as a culture change. Our society has learned more about disability and more people with disabilities are integrated into the community now than ever before. I have seen huge changes in this in the 35 years I have been working in rehabilitation, esp. since the ADA went into effect in the early 1990s.

    (KLD)
    I agree 100%. In the 48 years I've been in the chair attitudes have changed incredibly. During the early years people averted their eyes when they saw me not knowing how to respond. Many times we felt people were afraid I had something "catching" and wished we would leave the restaurant, etc. I never feel any of that any more. It's a good change!

    C5/C6

  6. #6
    Moderator jody's Avatar
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    when I am out, people still stare, but with less of a pity look and more, curiously horrified.
    I don't miss the pity look, but totally don't understand the horrified look. Im just walkin here....

  7. #7
    Jody, Horrified, I have never had that look, that would be hard to take!!! Your comment Im walking here reminds me of the movie Forrest Gump, when Lietenant Dant punches the taxi as he crossed the steet, hey im walking here!!

  8. #8
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    Some people drop into a state of shock when they see me. Others couldn't care if I face planted. I found a way to enjoy all reactions.

  9. #9
    One can hope that civility and manners are returning. Maybe some day we will see well-behaved children again. lol

    I find that reaction varies with the situation. At a concert hall, kindness reigns; at a bar or movie, you can get stepped on without ever hearing the word, "sorry." The South is generally more polite than many parts of the country. Charleston, SC has been ranked the most polite and mannerly city in the country. We have a lot of military personnel here and they set a great example for manners and helpfulness. Yes sir and yes ma'am are still often used when addressing elders.
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    Holding doors I think is basic manners. I held doors for anyone behind me when I was able to. So I don't think that has anything to do with disability, and find it bothersome when people don't have the basic manners to hold a door and let it slam in your face!
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

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