Social Distancing While Blind: How People with Disabilities Are Adjusting

Social Distancing While Blind: How People with Disabilities Are Adjusting

Many can’t distance themselves; they need hands-on help.
If you’re blind, you rely on touch to navigate the world. You need help with daily tasks — and that brings you close to other people.

This month in the Daily News Charles Catherine described his struggle to stay safe as he lives in New York City:

I am standing in my neighborhood grocery store, waiting for Willy, one of the trusted workers who usually helps me with my shopping. As I reach out and grab his familiar shoulder, I realize that everything has changed: I’m reluctant to touch him.

I lost my sight about 10 years ago at the age of 21. Around 57 million Americans live with a disability; that’s about 20% of the population. Even during this global crisis, people with disabilities still get out of bed and move through life’s routines despite new threats to our health. In many ways, to us, nothing has changed, especially because social distancing is not always an option.

When I go shopping, or when I go for a run, I need someone’s help. I need to touch things, and now I have to remind myself to take extra steps to remain safe and healthy. For some of my friends, this situation is even more complex. They can’t isolate themselves like others do. They need hands-on help from other people to do daily self-care tasks.

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