Wife made an observation the other day that got me thinking. She never saw so many wheelchairs in her life. "What is wrong with Americans that they need so many wheelchairs?" I dunno! Maybe it is because they can't get around without them? I asked about Russia. Nope. Hardly any wheelchairs. I recall now that I have not ever seen one there. I suggested that perhaps because wcs are easily gotten here - with health care and marketing etc. And that maybe there are just as many people who could use a wheelchair (wc) in Russia but since they don't have one they stay at home. Which also brings into play the family structure. Elders remain in the home with the children or vice-versa. Older folks who may require assistance in getting around really have no need and are therefore 'hidden' from society. From my memory banks I also recall that there are no 'electric sit down' shopping carts in the supermarkets. In America there are actually attendants making sure these things are charged and ready to go. I don't recall seeing any handicapped parking spaces either. I know, I know, it's called "accessible" now. The handicappers union made a stink and we're not allowed to say handicapped anymore. Just like we're not allowed to say midgets. The midgets get really pissed off when you say midget. So they are the "little people". Maybe we can call those using wheelchairs the "sitting people". Just a thought. Back to the topic. Are Americans just more lame than Russians? Or is it that it is just easier or necessary for those in need to get a wc? What about the UK? With the super-duper health care system over there are there lot's of "sitting people" rolling around?
I do believe Americans are more prone to illness than the rest of the world. Advertisement works!!!!! We are advertised to death that we need all of these medications for every little thing. Americans are bombarded daily with advertisement for medication. My sister-in-law actually gets sick reading the symptoms of an ailment from a magazine. No shit! And the doctors give her her pills.
My guess is that there are just as many sick and banged up people in Russia as in any place. We (they) just don't see them. And of course their government isn't spending billions to promote making people sick.
It wouldn't surprise me if many of these wheelchair users can actually walk but they're in the process of suing someone for, supposed, injuries sustained or they're claiming a disability allowance or similar!
I just laughed out loud. I said, "Ah yes, the Wanker is on." I believe your answer is wrong. However I see guys with handicap parking passes - oops accessible - who climb scaffold and carry heavy equipment at work.
I've seen a few people in wheelchairs, but only in out-of-the-way cities like Mariupol. The church I work with there has a lot of rehab centres for alcoholics/drug users. Many of the adults are amputees, but still have no wheelchair. Crutches seem more common (even if they're home-made). The wheelchairs I have seen out there seem different. They usually have equal sized wheels all round, and have some weird lever-based system for propulsion (so they kinda 'row' themselves along)
I do see plenty of people who NEED a wheelchair, though. Any city I go to, there's always decrepit old ladies in dark clothes and headscarves, wobbling along slowly.
Over here? I see plenty of people in electric wheelchairs and (more often) 'mobility' carts because they're a little old or (frequently) a little fat (i.e., they use it for transport, then get out and walk just fine when they reach their destination).
Yes it is. That's what I was thinking too. My mom (90 years and going) needs a walker to get around. But as soon as she gets to the supermarket she hops into one of these things and becomes Mario Andretti. She knocks over displays etc.
My guesses, about why there's such a big difference, in how often you see people out in wheelchairs:
1. Americans (and to varying degrees, people from other wealthy countries) have a much higher incidence of obesity, and obesity-related health problems like diabetes, that lead to disability.
2. Americans etc. have much more sedentary lifestyles, contributing to disability even among those who are not overweight.
3. Russians etc. die a LOT younger, so the proportion of people living long enough to suffer age-related disability is much less.
4. In a typical Russian-speaking city, a wheelchair is VERY hard to use. Tiny lifts (elevators), flights of steps at almost every residential building entrance, broken pavements, tall curbs, etc. etc. Very often, the only way to cross city streets is by an underground perekhod that requires going down and up stairs. My beloved sister is disabled, so I probably notice these factors more than most.
5. The infrastructure that makes wheelchairs useful for some in America -- the ADA with its requirements for ramps, fitted-out lavatories, etc.; specials vans with wheelchair lifts, and so on, are all reflective of great wealth. This stuff is really expensive. Poor countries just aren't going to do it anytime soon.
6. Many younger Americans need wheelchairs because of trauma -- road accidents, war, sports injuries, etc. I suspect that in the FSU, many people with severe trauma simply die, who would be saved by western medical systems.
7. Families have different attitudes about taking care of each other. In America, people are likely to live very far away from any of their grown children, and even those who live nearby are often reluctant to help. We expect government and medical systems to "take care" of the elderly and disabled. Maybe some people in the Russian-speaking world live a home-bound life, taken care of by family, who would be expected to live more independently in America.
8. Perhaps, social stigma is important too. Americans are practically shameless -- just visit any WalMart here! In Russia and Ukraine, people are much more image-aware, and perhaps would be deeply reluctant to go out in the world in a wheelchair, even if it were affordable and usable. If this sounds far-fetched -- I told a friend from Ukraine (he lived there till his mid 30's) that I almost never see fat people in Kyiv. He said that although there ARE fat people there, but they are so embarrassed that they avoid going out in public.
I sometimes work in hospitals. It is difficult to find parking, except at the beast care clinic. Those "Tits" have a great deal of negotiating power becasue there are more than enough dedicated parking places for the clinic. I guess you can't walk when you getr a mamography. Well, I working on the X-ray eguipment and got to park my service truck in one of those spaces. When I came out to leave, one of the usual subjects, a "Femmi-nazi" left a note on my truck. I had to laugh at the sexism in the letter, because it was a postulate to this woman that only a man would have such a vehicle or position and also that a man could not have breast cancer. In fact men do get breast cancer and it is usually bad because it is detected late. Still, I have never seen a special parking place for someone getting a prostate exam and that can result in a walking problem
I remember seeing at least one underground crossing in Moscow that was fitted with rails which could be used by a wheelchair or pushchair (and that's something else that I can't remember seeing much of in Russia), but in general I agree with Durak's fourth point - the infrastructure, whether buildings or outside, basically ignores the disabled (in the sense of mobility-impaired).
I've never needed a wheelchair, but I've been on crutches a couple of times and would hate to try negotiating Russian kerbs.
> I do believe Americans are more prone to illness than the rest of the world.
Clearly you do not know any Ukrainians. I find them to be hypochondriacs in general. I employ about 20 of them, know many more, and am married to one. Have you ever seen the advertisements on TV here? The entire 15 minute commercial break is for medication of one type or the other, with the occasional president cheese or beer commercial.
as for wheelchairs here, those would be about as useful as tits on a boar. There is no accessibility. There are no ramps, no parking spots, no way for them to go anywhere including living anywhere but on the first floor of a private home and forget about an apartment building half or more don't have lifts, the ones that do might not work or might be too narrow for a chair to fit in. And then just getting up the first set of stairs outside the building to get in, how are they supposed to do that?
Here they do not call them handicapped, they call them invalids and they treat them and design their infrastructure as such. I would imagine most of the people that require wheelchairs die early of complications and malnutrition. Probably why you don't see many people in them.
I don't know, just the other day in Toronto I saw several dudes who looked from personality have nos problems normal dudes, but while I was sitting in starbucks drinking coffee I saw one dude literally drive the wheel chair in front of me coz there was a pretty girl sitting in front of me, he parked the wheelchair & physically GOT UP stood for 5 seconds got the girls attention & sat back down & ride away, ok moral of the story What did he achieve by getting attention hmm...