The other day Mom and I went out shopping, which is always fun for us because once a year we used to go to the East Side of Cleveland for an annual shopping trip when I was younger. (In you live in the Cleveland, Ohio area you know of the East Side/West Side split.)
Anyway, things have changed a lot since then. It takes a few hours for Mom to get ready before we go out now. Also, going to the East Side, which is about an hours drive, is too long. Mom is really only feeling well for a few hours a day so it does not make much sense to drive two hours and waste that time.
So, we went local, but the mall with the store we needed is in an outdoor mall, which poses a lot of problems for someone with limited mobility. At the outdoor mall there is no handicapped parking outside of the shops so even the handicapped sign didn’t help. They only have metered parking by the stores, which is usually full, or parking lots which are quite far away. I was really worried about dropping Mom off by herself in the rain and having her wait for me while I park in the garage.
As it turned out, the Universe was looking out for us and there was a metered spot open just outside MAC Cosmetics. Hallelujah! This was a lucky day. Being with Mom has really made me realize just how inaccessible most of our society is for people with limited ability.
We had a great time at the cosmetics store, mostly because the makeup artist treated Mom like a human being, taking into consideration her abilities. Often people either ignore Mom because she walks and talks a bit slow, or they ignore the fact that she has any limitations and don’t connect with her at all. This makeup artist though took the time to pay attention and see Mom for who she really is. When finding makeup for Mom, she noticed Mom’s tremors and she tried to find products that would be easier for Mom to control and she did not try to sell her a ton of things she can’t use. She didn’t act like Mom was “older” or “different” and therefore didn’t need/want makeup. She also did not yell loudly, assuming Mom could not hear, or do any of the other common things people do with the older population.
I have noticed more and more how people treat Mom differently at times and make a lot of assumptions based on how she looks. I don’t think people ignore others who are older or have any other number of limitations differently on purpose, they just fail to stop and take the time to see them as a person.
It is a blessing to find people who treat Mom as the valuable and beautiful person she is. So, thank you Maggie at the MAC Cosmetics store in Crocker Park.