3 ways to support those with Muscular Dystrophy
21 September 2022
South Africa, Johannesburg 21 September 2022– In South Africa, muscular dystrophy affects 1 in 1200 individuals in the general population and also affects both children and adults. September is well known for Muscular Dystrophy as the aim is to bring awareness to the public regarding those with neuromuscular disease. In support of Muscular Dystrophy Awareness, Yvette Glass from Evac+Chair highlighted the gravity of muscular dystrophy.
“There are more than 30 muscular dystrophy diseases that cause permanent muscle weakness. Over time one’s muscles shrink and become weaker. Eventually, this will affect your ability to perform daily tasks and ability to walk”- Yvette Glass, Co-owner and Director of Evac+Chair
As people with muscular dystrophy end up being mobility impaired, it is important to provide a support structure in both public and private spaces. People must take on their own initiatives in helping provide awareness towards muscular dystrophy. Due to the fact Muscular Dystrophy changes and impacts, ones way of living, buildings must have a plan in place to ensure and support the safety of those with Muscular Dystrophy.
“because Muscular Dystrophy not only weakens your muscles but may affect your lungs and heart, these individuals are also very vulnerable when it comes to emergencies such that they are not neglected”
To support those with Muscular Dystrophy, Yvette Glass provides an insight on the necessary tools both public and private spaces can implement.
Having a campaign is the fastest way to get information to the public, as it is an engine for social change. Therefore, to make people aware of muscular dystrophy the public must be aware.
“Many people are aware of muscular dystrophy, but may simply not think that the issue is important enough. What campaigning does is that it narrows down the focus of attention so that people do something that leads to change” adds Yvette Glass
However, campaigning is not enough and requires other supporting strategies such as home accessibility
Depending on the needs of one with muscular dystrophy, the modifications must meet their needs. According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, they recommend that living spaces should be made more accessible through the following:
- Have a floor-to-ceiling grab bar that will help someone get out of bed or their chair
- Installation of railings throughout the home
- Installing an automatic door
- Widening doorways for those using wheelchairs
Depending on the severity of Muscular dystrophy, individuals can be supported through Mobility Aids
Mobility devices ensures that an individual can go about with their daily lives and most importantly safely. One can use a walking stick, canes or even crutches. Eventually it may be necessary for scooters and wheelchairs to travel long distances. However, in the case of an emergency, an evacuation chair is required such that people living with muscular dystrophy are not vulnerable.
“The evacuation chair allows for one to go down the stairs safely without harm. People with muscular dystrophy may end becoming disabled which is why I think multi-story building need to always be prepared” conclude Yvette Glass
Evac+Chair, situated in South Africa is a local manufacturer and distributor of the world’s number one Stairway Evacuation Chair. The Evac+Chair is designed to help descend mobility-impaired people/persons with disability downstairs in an emergency evacuation when the lifts for safety reasons, are shut down. With over 20 years of experience, Evac+Chair is the leading specialist in emergency evacuation, ensuring customers comply fully with health and safety regulations. Evac+Chair services range from providing specialist equipment to delivering specific training and essential maintenance.
The business is a proud brand that promotes the rights of people with disabilities, particularly when it comes to safety. It has been involved in various projects including a collaboration with Ladies on Wheels – an organization that looks into changing the narrative of people with disabilities. The #MySafetyMatters campaign with Ladies on Wheels was aimed to help create awareness about the safety of people with mobility impairments when it comes to multi-story buildings.