If you’re wanting to make your gîtes suitable for disabled people, here are a few pointers.
* Check your local regulations. They vary form place to place, as is common with much of French bureaucracy
* It’s a good idea meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act in the UK. Many of your holidaymakers are likely to be from there, so this is may well be the benchmark for what standards they expect. It should also mean your gîte is of a high standard for all holidaymakers, whatever their nationality.
* Search various sites to see what other people are offering. Certainly some of the most successful sites appear to have personal knowledge of disabled persons requirements because someone in their own family is disabled: hence, they have both the knowledge and the equipment and are using both as a business opportunity!
* Remember, the majority of disabled people are not wheelchair users. The more common disabilities include hearing and visual impairments, restricted mobility and heart conditions. You need to consider the full spectrum of disability when deciding what changes, if any, you may need to make.
An example of an auxiliary aid is the provision of an induction loop (a system of wiring from a microphone which enables a customer with a hearing aid to tune in only to the sound from the microphone thus avoiding background noise) in the TV lounge and/or reception area.
* Some of the more obvious requirements are:
– level access showers
– assisted shower chair
– pool with hoist
– bed raisers
– grab rails
– wheel-in showers
– manual and electric bath hoists
– manual and electric bed hoists
– alarm systems in rooms
– vibrating alarms
You will also need to look at:
– widths of doorways
– bed heights
– lowest toilet/highest toilet
* you will need to think about making your website or advertisement ‘disabled user friendly’ and there are various websites for advice on this.
* Websites for more information:
– The DWP site is extremely useful site, as it gives plenty of information together with personal stories of businesses in the hospitality industry and some downloads available on what you should provide.
– Also google under:
Disabled Holiday information
Disabled holiday accommodation
Disabled Access holidays
For more information visit Les Bons Voisins
By Sally Stone
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