If you’ve never read over Michigan’s Common Disability Agenda, it’s worth taking the time to do. Sometimes people have a tendency to think that what’s going on in the disability arena doesn’t apply to them. Nothing could be further than the truth.
As you age, the likelihood of your developing a disability increases dramatically. We tend to go through life thinking, “It’ll never happen to me,” but even those aches and pains typical with the aging process can change your outlook on life. And then there’s the likelihood of developing arthritis, back injury, osteoporosis, diabetes, etc. If you’re lucky enough to get by without developing a condition that restricts your independence, consider that we don’t go through this life alone. Your siblings, parents and friends are all aging too. They face the same age-related conditions the rest of us do.
So, knowing that there is someone monitoring how Michigan is treating our citizens with disabilities is important. The Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (MISILC) has done a nice summary of the primary issues if you’re interested. These issues include:
- Access to comprehensive health care. Preventative health care saves money and helps maintain independence.
- Long-Term Care reformation. People with disabilities want to live in their homes rather than in institutions
- A strong workforce. People with disabilities want to work, but face many barriers trying to access the workplace.
- Affordable, accessible housing. People with disabilities are more likely to have a lower income, so finding affordable, accessible housing is difficult.
- Accessible, affordable public transportation. Nearly half of Michigan’s 83 counties have little or no public transportation.
- Effective land use policy. Most Michiganders live in urban or suburban cities. People with disabilities are often cut off from the resources they need because they lack the financial resources, natural supports and transportation to make connections.
- High quality education. Michigan has two separate education systems, one for persons with disabilities and one for those without. This is expensive and doesn’t provide a quality education for children with disabilities.
- Achieving rights as a citizen. People with disabilities need to make decisions about what’s important to them.
- Accessible voting. Michigan needs voters, but many barriers exist at the polls that prevent people with disabilities from voting.
- Accessible recreational facilities and programs. Recreational facilities and programs must be designed or modified to provide universal access to everyone.
Michigan’s Common Disability Agenda—take the time to learn about what Michigan is doing for her citizens with disabilities!