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Thread: caretaker accompanying in public restrooms?

  1. #1
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    caretaker accompanying in public restrooms?

    I'm not sure if this is the best place, but since its a caretaker question I figured I'd post it here.

    I'm asking for a friend of mine, she asked me and I have no idea. She is about to have surgery on her ankle on thursday, will be using a knee walker most of the time but also will have a wheelchair rental to be able to go places for longer. She has very little function in her left arm due to a stroke when she was a baby, and is concerned about difficulty getting from the chair to toilet and such in the bathroom. Someone mentioned to her that a caretaker is able to accompany someone to the restroom if a family restroom isn't available. In this instance the caretaker would be her boyfriend. I don't know anything about this, if its true, if it requires the caretaker to be a nurse/etc and not just family member or friend and so forth.

    I did tell her all handicap accessible bathrooms will have hand rails for assistance. But that not all bathrooms are handicap accessible, and if its not marked that she should ask where the nearest one is.
    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.

  2. #2
    Some opposite sex caregivers do accompany disabled persons into public restrooms. There aren't any rules or laws about it.
    Last edited by Katja; 05-13-2012 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Amended:-)

  3. #3
    First, please amend your reference...caretaker to caregiver. Yes, it may be just a nuance, but...I think those of us who need someone to help with our physical care needs would prefer the reference to that person to be caregiver, not caretaker. Caretaker connotes that one does not have mental capacity.

    NL (my wife and caregiver) accompanies me into the men's room or the women's room by making those in the respective restrooms aware that there is or will be either a man or a woman in the room by announcing such presence before we enter. I think having a caregiver in a restroom of the opposite sex is covered by ADA regulations.

    All the best,
    GJ

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Katja View Post
    Some opposite sex caregivers do accompany disabled persons into public restrooms. There aren't any rules or laws about it.
    Actually, this may not be correct. In CA we have a very specific state law that allows anyone who needs assistance in a public restroom to be accompanied by the person of their choice, regardless of gender. When my father was my mother's caregiver, he used to just announce "man coming in with disabled wife" before entering the bathroom, and no one ever gave him any grief over this. Of course since women's restrooms are all stalls (no exposed urinals) it was unlikely to be an issue anyway. It may be a little more sensitive for a female to accompany a male in a public restroom for this reason.

    And, unless your friend is a large estate or incompetent, the term caregiver is much preferred over "caretaker".

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    We were at a benefit a couple months ago at a Teamster's Hall when this issue came up.
    My sister and I took my husband into one of the women's restrooms that is just a big room with a toilet and a sink. I empted his leg bag and suctioned him in privacy.
    Sometimes the family rooms are not big enough to turn his large chair around.
    Hopefully most people are understanding.

  6. #6
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    I often have a friend with me in a public restroom, but it is another woman. Personally I would not bring a man into a ladies room ever unless it was as Linda describes, just a big room with one toilet meant to be used by one person at a time. Then it doesn't matter, and one place I go to regularly I use a single toilet room that is technically designated for men, but which is considerably bigger than the ladies version. If it is one person/team at a time it does not matter, but to bring a man into a multi-stalled ladies room is a bad idea for about a million reasons, and could be both illegal and disrespectful to women who expect to have privacy in a ladies room.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I often have a friend with me in a public restroom, but it is another woman. Personally I would not bring a man into a ladies room ever unless it was as Linda describes, just a big room with one toilet meant to be used by one person at a time. Then it doesn't matter, and one place I go to regularly I use a single toilet room that is technically designated for men, but which is considerably bigger than the ladies version. If it is one person/team at a time it does not matter, but to bring a man into a multi-stalled ladies room is a bad idea for about a million reasons, and could be both illegal and disrespectful to women who expect to have privacy in a ladies room.
    Because of legislation in California, we are seeing this sign more often on the outside of public restrooms. In California it is not illegal to have a caregiver of the opposite sex in a restroom, as for disrespectful...hmmm, why?

    It might be useful to caregivers to have a laminated sign they can temporarily post (with tape) on the outside door of a restroom when they are using the restroom helping an opposite sex individual. The sign could read, MALE CAREGIVER CURRENTLY IN WOMEN'S RESTROOM or DISABLED MALE IN WOMEN'S RESTROOM ACCOMPANIED BY FEMALE CAREGIVER. Gives fair warning.

    All the best,
    GJ
    Last edited by gjnl; 05-14-2012 at 07:31 PM.

  8. #8
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    As long as it is loudly announced before entering I have no problem with it, but I have been in ladies rooms when people are changing clothes, adjusting bras, and all manner of things they would not like to have a man walk in on.

  9. #9
    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
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    I am a female who must accompany my husband into the restroom. If I go in the men's room (if the ladies' room has a huge long line or if it has insufficient space), I just go in and avert my eyes from the open urinals. If he goes in the women's room, he just tries to not catch anyone's eyes. It's very awkward, I will admit, either way. (and I have never ever seen a sign like what was posted - how weird! but good I suppose). WHen we go in the ladies room, I go in and scout it out first to make sure no one is as Eileen noted, doing something that would be embarrassing for a man to see her doing, e.g. dressing, whatever. For the men's room, we just go in and I hope for the best! My son is soon getting to the age where he soon will be able to accompany Chad to the bathroom, which will be nice, and will avert the whole problem. But whenever we have a choice, we choose the ladies' room because it's a lot less intrusive for me to take him in the ladies' room than for me to go in the men's. So I respectfully disagree with Eileen on that.

    And I wouldn't bust the OP's chops over caretaker/caregiver. The intent is the same, we are people helping another - taking care, giving care. Whatever!
    Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by zillazangel View Post

    And I wouldn't bust the OP's chops over caretaker/caregiver. The intent is the same, we are people helping another - taking care, giving care. Whatever!
    Ami, I think this is one of those issues in the disability community of best chosen language, ranking up there with the term wheelchair bound. In legal language caretaker connotes mental incapacity and I think most people with a physical disability would regard caregiver as a more enlightened term than caretaker if there is no mental insufficiency.

    All the best,
    GJ

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