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Author Archive for: eridpath

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When Self-Service is Not an Option – Refueling with a Disability

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

When I was a kid I loved the movie “Back to the Future” with Michael J Fox.  I remember clearly the scene where it shows his parents in the 50’s at a gas station – back then, “full serve” meant windows were cleaned, the car shined, tires pumped, and of course your gas tank refilled.  It was like the pit-stop at a NASCAR race where you would have multiple people at your vehicle getting you on your way quickly.  Fast forward to today where “full-serve” is uncommon, and finding a station where someone can fill your tank while you wait in the car might require you to venture out of your way. 

So, how does this translate for people with disabilities?  Well, firstly, there are many people that can and do drive a car regardless of a mobility impairment.  Cars can be modified to accommodate the specific needs of many people with physical challenges.  Hand controls, left-footed gas pedals, spinner knobs, automatic wipers, voice controls…to name a few.  That is all fine while the vehicle is being operated, but what about when it is time to refuel?  It is possible, but not always efficient or safe, for people with a physical impairment to get out of the vehicle, grab their mobility device, and wait outside the car in the elements to refuel.  Not to mention the safety risks of these tight spaces, other vehicles, and fall / slipping hazards of wet and uneven ground.

Considering the move away from “full-serve”, I wanted to look in detail at the services offered by gas stations to help people to refuel when mobility is a challenge.  I was surprised at what I found – some stations have well listed policies that are clear and supportive, while others have no policy or tell people to “call ahead” before coming to refuel.

Here is what I found about ways to refuel if getting out and around your car at a gas station is not the best choice for you…

I give the following companies a THUMBS UP:

ESSO

(https://www.esso.ca/en/gas-stations)

Drivers with disabilities can use the Esso Fuel Finder to find stations that offer the fueling option that best meets your needs: 

Split serve stations: Both full- and self-service options are available to customers
Full serve only stations: Full service is available to customers
Self-serve only stations: While some of our stations have designated Disability Fueling Assistant hours where more than one attendant is available, often there is only one attendant on duty at self-serve stations.

We recommend you call ahead to see if appropriate staffing arrangements can be made. Contact information is available on the Esso Fuel Finder.

SHELL

(http://www.shell.ca/en_ca/motorists/inside-our-stations/refueling-for-drivers-with-disabilities.html)

Drivers with a disabled parking permit will receive full service at self-serve prices at stations with both full and self-serve pumps. The gas station attendant will fuel your vehicle at the self-service island so that you pay only the self-serve price for fuel. Customers should identify themselves to one of our gas station attendants. Please note this service is available only during full service hours.

At self-serve only stations, staff will make every effort to help customers displaying disabled parking permits with refueling. Please identify yourself to one of our gas station attendants. We also encourage you to contact your local station to discuss your individual needs as some stations have limited staff and payment access.

PETRO CANADA

(http://retail.petro-canada.ca/en/stationsstores/customers-with-accessibility-needs.aspx)

At participating split-service stations, a site which provides self-service and full-service at the islands, drivers with an accessible parking permit will receive full-service at self-serve prices. The full-service attendant will fuel your vehicle at the self-service island so that you pay only the self-serve price for fuel.

Find a Petro-Canada station with full service

At participating self-serve stations, customers with an accessible parking permit can drive up to a two-way call station located at the fuel island and press the button to speak to the attendant inside the store to request assistance with fueling their vehicle.

The following get a THUMBS DOWN:

PIONEER

(http://www.pioneer.ca/Portals/1/Images/About%20Pioneer/Pioneer%20Accessiibility%20Policy.pdf)

Pioneer’s site only speaks to assistive devices, communication, support persons and service animals, but does not address the challenge of people with physical impairments being able to refuel.

CANADIAN TIRE GAS

For non-full serve stations, people are required to schedule an appointment with the retailer for refueling.  ONRoute locations offer full serve to all customers between the hours of 7am and 10pm, 7 days a week.  For service outside of these hours, an appointment is required.  Those using the full serve through the Disability Assistance Program will be charged self-serve prices.

COSTCO and ULTRAMAR:

No information is provided. 

In summary, I was impressed by what I found and applaud Shell, Esso and Petro-Canada for being so progressive and supportive on this issue. For the rest, I presume that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) will require those that are behind in offering disability-friendly refueling options to develop policies and procedures and to post these to be easily found on their websites.   In the meantime, I trust those drivers with mobility issues will use and benefit from what Shell, Esso and Petro-Canada have to offer people in their situation.

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Mental Health at Work: How to Seek Help

While minor accidents are common in the workplace and quickly addressed, higher instances of stress, mental illness, and workplace bullying are being seen across all industries.  If you are suffering where do you go to get help?  If you see signs of mental distress in a fellow employee, how can you help?  The following from The Globe and Mail discusses how and where to seek help if you are concerned.

The Globe and Mail:  Where to get help when you’re concerned with your mental health

Learn more about strategies to improve mental health in the workplace in the following episode from our OT-V series:

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Vacation Plans? Consult our Accessible Travel Guide

Are you travelling this summer?   Be prepared with our guide to travelling with a disability.

Travelling with a disability can be difficult, but with thorough planning it can be a wonderful experience.  Our free E-Book on Accessible Travel is full of helpful information, tips and checklists to help you plan, pack and prepare for a fantastic getaway.

Solutions for Living:  Accessible Travel E-Book

Also check out our OT-V episode:  Travelling with a Disability for more tips for planning a memorable vacation.

 

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Summer Reading Plan

As mentioned in our post, Help Young Minds Stay Sharp this Summer, it can be difficult to keep children’s minds stimulated during the summer months and often many children suffer summer brain drain.  One of the best ways to put a plug on this drain is to encourage regular reading.  Encourage your child to set a SMART Goal for how many books they plan to read this summer and keep track using our free printable summer reading log.  Be sure to build in rewards when your child is on track and when they meet their goal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For additional helpful tools for kids and adults visit our Printable Resources Page.

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30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge: Day 1

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month and in recognition Solutions for Living is introducing the 30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge.  We challenge you to complete these 30 simple activities and tips which when incorporated into your lifestyle can help improve memory, boost mental health, prevent brain injury and reduce cognitive decline.

Pick and Start a New Novel

Reading is something we encourage in children from a very young age for many reasons including building language skills, developing speech and more.  Taking time to read is something we should continue to encourage, especially in our adult years.  Researchers have studied the effects of reading on the brain and have found that reading a novel can change the brain and these effects last for days after reading has occurred.  From cognition to mental health and everything in between, reading has fantastic benefits for the brain at all ages.

Delve deeper into the research behind how reading improves our brain in the following article from ABC News.

ABC News:  How Reading a Novel Can Improve the Brain

To learn more about other ways reading can improve your health take a look at a previous post from our blog:  Books Can Boost Your Health.

Be sure to follow along the 30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge and let us know how many activities you have completed!

 

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Limit Screen Time for Proper Speech Development

While Ipads, Iphones and tablets alike are filled with programs for young kids and tend to be a helpful distraction in the grocery store or when parents are making dinner, new research indicates that too much time in front of a device may linked to slower speech development in toddlers.  Take a look at the following from PBS which discusses the finding and provides interactive ways parents and young children can use technology together to help build proper speech development.

PBS:  Toddlers’ screen time linked to slower speech development, study finds

Learn how to tame the technology habit with help from our previous post:  Too Much Screen Time? We’ve Got Solutions!

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Simple Solutions for a Healthier Diet

If you’re trying to create healthier eating habits you don’t have to start by jumping in with both feet.  Many benefits can be seen by simply swapping many of the everyday items you currently consume for some healthier alternatives.   For some healthy substitutions check out the following care of Net Doctor and start improving your diet today!

Net Doctor:  15 food swaps that make your diet instantly healthier

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Struggling with Sleep? Try This Helpful Tool

Proper sleep is vital to our mental and physical health, and lack of sleep can negatively affect productivity and function.  If you suffer from poor sleep, know that you are not alone.  Statistics Canada estimates that approximately 3.5 million Canadians struggle with sleep.  There are many ways to get help and in all of these, tracking your sleep is an important tool.  Use our free printable Two-Part Weekly Sleep Diary to help you track and identify what helps and what hinders your sleep habits.  Simply print and fill in your diaries before bed each night and when you wake up each morning.

Also check out our video Improving Sleep to learn some solutions from Occupational Therapists that can help.

For more helpful tools and checklists please visit our Printable Resources page.

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Top Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day!

Saturday, April 22nd, is Earth Day! A day to celebrate the planet that facilitates our survival. With continuing climate change, extreme weather events and heavy pollution, becoming environmentally conscientious has never been more important. Remember that even small changes to your lifestyle and habits can make a difference in protecting our precious planet.  No alternative facts here!

Check out the following simple suggestions to make a positive impact each and every day: